Fantasy Writer Mines Modern Malaysia’s Cultural Complexity

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Fantasy Writer Mines Modern Malaysia’s Cultural Complexity
21 Aug 2021
7 min read

Podcast

News Synopsis

The premise of Black Water Sister, the most recent novel by Award-Winning writer Zen Cho, born in Petaling Jaya, and based in London, makes for an innovative cocktail of fantasy and concrete realism set in contemporary Penang, an unusual setting for works of fiction. Cho, who divides her time between writing fiction and practicing law within the UK, has already won several awards, including a prestigious Hugo for her work, and was a finalist in 2013 within the Amazing Award to the simplest novel writer of fantasy and fiction. Her books are translated into various languages like French, Spanish, Chinese, and Japanese.

Her main inspiration for Black Water Sister was the syncretical Chinese religious tradition she grew up in, which mixes Gods and influences from Buddhism, Taoism, and folk beliefs. She researched that very well and get interested more and more.

With rapidly developing Penang because the main stage, Black Water Sister inevitably deals with problems with the transition, and alter. After being awarded a joint UNESCO World Heritage list with the town of Melaka in South Malaysia in 2008, Penang’s main city, George Town, began to gentrify satisfy the requirements of a growing number of visitors, and was preparing to receive eight million tourists when COVID-19 suddenly paralyzed the industry.

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