In This Desert, There Were Seeds
In This Desert, There Were Seeds

In This Desert, There Were Seeds

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edited by Jon Gresham and Elizabeth Tan

Read an excerpt

Synopsis

Endangered tigers connecting telepathically through time-travel; a guard’s ethical dilemma at a history museum; a slaughterhouse worker’s memories of his dead wife; a monochrome town upended by a wild watermelon…

In This Desert, There Were Seeds is an intimate collection of past and future dreams, featuring exciting new and established literary voices from Western Australia and Singapore. From our shifting sense of community and identity, to our frustrations with existing political, social and economic structures—this anthology transcends boundaries and captures the persistence of ordinary lives in deserts literal and metaphorical.

About the Editors

Jon Gresham was born in England, grew up in Australia and has lived in Singapore and Thailand for the last 19 years. Jon’s debut collection of short stories, We Rose Up Slowly, was published by Math Paper Press in 2015. Jon is also a co-founder of the Singaporean literary community, Sing Lit Station. He leads the Writing the City Creative Writing Workshops at Toa Payoh Library each month. His writing has appeared in various anthologies and literary journals including Best New Singaporean Short Stories Vol. 3 and In Transit: An Anthology from Singapore on Airports and Air Travel. He is currently working on a novel about an adopted, transnational, Eurasian in Southeast Asia.

Elizabeth Tan was born in Perth to Singaporean parents. She completed her PhD in Creative Writing at Curtin University, where she now works as a sessional tutor. Her debut novel, Rubik, has been published in Australia (Brio, 2017), North America (The Unnamed Press, 2018), and the United Kingdom (Wundor Editions, 2018). More recently, her work has appeared in Overland, Stories of Perth, Catapult, Lenny Letter, and Best Summer Stories.

Contributors featured

Aishah Alhadad · Alicia Tuckerman · Arin Alycia Fong · Chen Cuifen · Cyril Wong · David Whish-Wilson · Diana Rahim · Heather Teo · Jay Anderson · Jinny Koh · Laurie Steed · Leslie Thiele · Marylyn Tan · Rachelle Rechichi · Rajkumar Thiagaras · Rashida Murphy · Choo Ruizhi · Sabrina Dudgeon-Swift · Tinashe Jakwa · Yirga Gelaw Woldeyes

Reviews

“Like a figure stepping bravely into the light, the stories in this collection capture a moment in time already in its twilight: unsure of what lies next for all of us, and yet altogether certain in the strength of our stories and the hard truths our writers continue to share.”
—Daryl Yam, author of Kappa Quartet

These tales unfold in the wake of disaster, personal and planetary: a cancer diagnosis, colonial pillage and displacement, a divorce, complete ecological collapse. Their characters are atomised, scattered across space and time, cut off from the communities that would nourish them. Yet these are not tales of despair. These are tales of survival.
—Ng Yi-Sheng, poet, playwright, fictionist, researcher and LGBT+ activist

A beautiful and poignant collection of short stories that articulate with accuracy, compassion and empathy the anxieties of a generation in early 21st century. But beyond being at once a mirror and voice of a generation, these stories are engaging for their ingenious use of history and varying cultural and spiritual practices as a backdrop and device to drive the various plots forward.

Above all however, that which strikes one most are the common themes in the stories. While no doubt some stories are distinctive in their settings, after a while, one forgets that this story is from Australia or that other story is from Singapore. That which is left behind is the sense that there are no boundaries when it comes to emotions, hopes, aspirations, dreams and tragedy.

A truly universal collection that is a must read if you want to understand the minds and hearts of the generation that will see us through the 21st century.
—Phan Ming Yen, author and director of Global Cultural Alliance

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ISBN: 978-981-14-2178-5 (SG)
Published: 2019
Dimension: 130mm x 200mm
Pages: 232
Format: Paperback