Growing up, I was definitely slightly biased AGAINST local authors. Considering the focus given to Western authors even by our teachers, this was not so much of a surprise. Even now I have a tendency to pick up novels written by Western authors, though I am a lot more critical about the representation in them.
Which is why I love the fact that Roshani Chokshi’s The Star Touched Queen is doing so well with readers and bloggers, and why I love how much people recommend Jenny Han’s books. I haven’t read either author (yet!) but they are both on my TBR and as soon as I am able, I’ll be reading their books.
But even then, both these authors grew up in the West. Unlike me. I find myself still having a hard time finding popular books by Eastern authors, and I cannot help but wonder just why that is.
Books by Eastern authors tend to only be available in the East, which is a high shame. Now that I am aware of this discrepancy, I am trying to make a larger effort to support these authors. A friend recently picked up a copy of Wayne Ree’s Tales From A Tiny Room for me, a slim book of short stories that I devoured in no time. When books like that exist, why do I still hold an inability to actively search them down? Why do I still instinctively go to the big publisher names instead of supporting the Eastern authors?
It is definitely something I am trying to change. A couple of years ago, I got my hands on a couple of books by a popular Indian author Anuja Chauhan during a trip to India. The bookstore owner told me just how popular she was with the Indian public – but I had never heard of her until that very day. When I finished The Zoya Factor, I wondered just why that was. Yes, her books are based in India, and yes, they are highly influenced by the Indian lifestyle, but there is still something relatable there that I am sure could translate over continents.
Then why is she still so relatively unknown?
I have recently discovered RunHideSeek, a YA trilogy written by Gabby Tye, a Singaporean teenager, that sounds just up my alley, but have been unable to find the novels anywhere outside of Singapore. While it is a little disappointing, on the one hand I am thrilled that Eastern authors are embracing the various genres and giving their own spin to it. I am sure this has been going on for a while now, and I am just glad that I am finally paying attention to it.
There is a whole world of fiction that I have yet to explore, a whole world I have unknowingly been keeping myself from encountering. No more. These characters resemble me, resemble the way I grew up – and maybe by falling in love with them, I can spread the love to other readers.
I’m going to be honest – I’m not actually trying to start a movement, but hey, if I can inspire a few people to pick up some books they might not actually? I’m counting it as a win.
So, tell me, would you be willing to read books written by Eastern authors? Would you be willing to try something that may be new to you? Or alternatively, have you read any books by Eastern authors that you can suggest I pick up?