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Tash Aw, whose full name is Aw Ta-Shi (Chinese: 歐大旭; pinyin: Ōu Dàxù; b. 1971[1] is a Malaysian writer living in London.[2]

BiographyEdit

Born in 1971 in Taipei, Taiwan, to Malaysian parents, Tash Aw returned to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, at the age of two, and grew up there.[1][3] He had a multilingual upbringing, speaking Malay, Mandarin, Cantonese and English during his youth.[4] He eventually relocated to England to study law at Jesus College, Cambridge and at the University of Warwick before moving to London to write. After graduating he worked at a number of jobs, including as a lawyer for four years while writing his debut novel, which he completed during the creative writing course at the University of East Anglia.

Tash Aw talks about Map of the Invisible World on Bookbits radio.

His first novel, The Harmony Silk Factory, was published in 2005. After Malaysian journalists reported that he had been paid more than £500,000 for the novel, The Star and The New Straits Times called him the "RM3.5 million man", and local interest in his book deal continues today, even though the novelist himself has consistently denied the size of this advance, preferring to talk about the novel, which was longlisted for the 2005 Man Booker Prize and won the 2005 Whitbread Book Awards First Novel Award as well as the 2005 Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best First Novel (Asia Pacific region). It also made it to the long-list of the world's prestigious 2007 International Impac Dublin Award and the Guardian First Book Prize. It has thus far been translated into twenty languages. Aw cites his literary influences as James Baldwin, Toni Morrison, Marguerite Duras, William Faulkner and Albert Camus.

His second novel, titled Map of the Invisible World, was released in May 2009 to critical acclaim, with TIME Magazine calling it "a complex, gripping drama of private relationships," and describing "Aw's matchless descriptive prose", "immense intelligence and empathy." His 2013 novel Five Star Billionaire was longlisted for the 2013 Man Booker Prize. In 2016, he published The Face: Strangers on a Pier, a memoir on immigration through the experience of his Chinese-Malaysian family, which was a finalist for the LA Times Book Awards. His latest novel, We, The Survivors, was published in 2019.

WorksEdit

NovelsEdit

Short StoriesEdit

  • "Notes from a Desert Sketchbook", Off the Edge, Issue 07 (2005) - Off the Edge was a Malaysian English-language magazine, now defunct
  • "The American Brick Problem", Prospect, Issue 122 (May 2006)
  • "To The City", Granta, 100 (Winter 2007)
  • "Sail", A Public Space, Issue 13 (Summer 2011) - won the 2013 O. Henry Prize; republished in The O. Henry Prize Stories 2013, Laura Furman (ed.)
  • "Tian Huaiyi", McSweeney's 42 (December 2012)
  • "Tiger" (January 2013)

NonfictionEdit

  • The Face: Strangers On A Pier (2016)

EssaysEdit

As EditorEdit

  • X-24: Unclassified (2007) (co-editor with Nii Parkes)

MiscellaneousEdit

Based on royalties as well as prizes, Aw is the most successful Malaysian writer of recent years. Following the announcement of the Booker longlist, the Whitbread Award and his Commonwealth Writers' Prize award, he became a celebrity in Malaysia and Singapore, and is now one of the most respected literary figures in Southeast Asia.

He was a juror for the 2014 O. Henry Award, identifying Mark Haddon's "The Gun" as his favourite story of the year's selection.

As of 2017 he is among the writers-in-residence at Nanyang Technological University.

In January 2018 his alma mater, the University of Warwick, awarded him an honorary Doctor of Letters degree.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b Biography: Tash Aw, Berlin Literary Festival, 2007
  2. ^ Yong Shu Hoong (15 April 2007). "Fortunate Son". The Straits Times.[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ About Tash Aw
  4. ^ Maya Jaggi (15 March 2013). "Tash Aw: a life in writing". The Guardian.

External linksEdit