Eastern Heathens edited by Amanda Lee Koe and Ng Yi-Sheng
Eastern Heathens edited by Amanda Lee Koe and Ng Yi-Sheng

Eastern Heathens: An Anthology of Subverted Asian Folklore

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edited by Amanda Lee Koe and Ng Yi-Sheng

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We love Asian folklore. We grew up listening to Chinese legends, Arab fairy tales, Malay ghost stories and Indian sacred epics, and their fabulous images have continued to inhabit our imaginations ever since.

Yet as grown-ups, we’ve sometimes been bugged by the moralistic, simplistic manner in which these fables are often told. What better way to negotiate this than to reinvent our heritage? This collection brings together 14 subversions, reinventions and adaptations of folktales from all across Asia, written by an international crew of authors.

Within these pages, you’ll find a Cambodian horror story, a poetic meditation on Japanese fox spirits, a crime parable based on the Indian epic of the Ramayana, a sci-fi redaction of the Chinese legend of Lady White Snake, and many more exquisite gems.

This book is a treasure trove of the imagination, containing tales both intelligent and wondrous, combining the best elements of Asian heritage with the wit of the 21st century.

Featured Stories From

Anila Angin | Chan Ziqian | Bryan Cheong | Jennani Durai | Jeannine Hall Gailey | Jon Gresham | Abha Iyengar | Amanda Lee Koe | Li Huijia | Jason Erik Lundberg | Hoa Pham | Zeny May Dy Recidoro | Alfian Sa’at | Cyril Wong

About the Editors

Amanda Lee Koe is the fiction editor of Esquire (Singapore), the editor of creative non-fiction online magazine POSKOD, co-editor of the literary journal Ceriph and communications director at studioKALEIDO (www.studiokaleido.net). Her first book, Ministry of Moral Panic (Epigram Books), a collection of edgy transnational short stories, won the Singapore Literature Prize (Category of English, Fiction) in 2014.

Ng Yi-Sheng is the author of four books, including the poetry collection last boy and a novel based on the Singaporean motorcycle gangster movie Eating Air. He has also co-edited onewinged, an anthology of young people’s writing, and GASPP, Singapore’s first anthology of gay and lesbian literature.


"Eastern Heathens's place in the larger segment of subversive narratives and, ultimately, its place within the larger scope of Singapore literature, is an important one, and apposite praise must be accorded to both Lee-Koe and Ng Yi-Sheng for taking on the task of putting together this collection. The stories have been well-selected, based on the range of influences and the themes covered as a whole."
- Laremy LeeQuarterly Literary Review Singapore

“The stories in Eastern Heathens work to expose the extent to which our present values, mores and attitudes remain consistent (or part ways) with those found in the original folktales – a valuable exercise in an era in which national myths are embraced, adored and passed on, but rarely questioned.”
Roderick B. Overaa, Assistant Professor from the English Department at East Tennessee State University, USA, Asiatic: IIUM Journal of English Language & Literature

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ISBN: 978-981-07-5680-2
Published: 2013
Dimension: 130mm x 195mm
Extent: 142
Finish: Paperback



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