What better way to celebrate International Women’s Day today than by sinking your teeth into books penned by local female authors that touch on women, both real and fictional? From Balli Kaur Jaswal‘s international bestseller Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows to Loretta Chen‘s Madonnas and Mavericks (and while we wait patiently for Amanda Lee Koe‘s upcoming novel about the occasionally interconnecting lives of three actresses across the 20th century), these books ensure that women are celebrated forever and a day.
Singaporean novelist Balli Kaur Jaswal’s third novel has been translated into multiple international editions, with its film rights already sold, and it was just selected by Reese’s Book Club (yes, that Reese) as its book of the month. Set in London, with its protagonist the daughter of Indian immigrants, it is a book about community, friendship and women’s lives at all ages.
Poet Grace Chia explores womanhood in her third poetry collection, using the female body to touch on themes of home, identity, love, desire and loss.
Award-winning Tamil language writer Latha’s collection of short stories has been translated into English, and with her typically feminist focus, has given a voice to the strengths and struggles of Tamil women in Singapore, one that all mothers and daughters can relate to.
First written in 1996 by Cultural Medallion recipient You Jin, Mum is Where the Heart is was translated into English last year. Funny, poignant and courageous, this memoir takes us across three decades and the roller coaster of emotions that parenthood entails.
Loretta Chen interviews 17 women, many of whom will be familiar to all Singaporeans, in this tribute to those “who have scaled the peaks and thrived in unexpected places.” Chosen for their influence in their respective spheres, the list includes entrepreneurs Cynthia Chua and Tjin Lee, swimmer and Paralympic medalist Theresa Goh, and even the President herself, Madam Halimah Yacob; each of them sharing “intimate stories, career insights and life lessons”.
Writer and poet Jennifer Anne Champion’s collection of poems is a memoir and scrapbook chronicling her childhood, presented alongside illustrations and photos. Poems like “A is for Epal” and “Grandparents” will resonate with Singaporeans, whether you grew up in Serangoon Gardens or not.