(Taipei, 1971) is a writer and essayist with Malaysian roots. His globally successfull debut novel The Harmony Silk Factory has been translated into over twenty languages, winning him renowned literary prizes. His second book, Map of the Invisible World (2009) also was an instant international success. In both books Asia's recent colonial past plays a role. His second novel is partly situated in the turbulent 1960s in Indonesia. His characters render tangible which results political decisions can have on ordinary people. Subsequently, he published the novels Five Star Billionaire (2013) and We, the Survivors (2019) and the non fiction book The Face: Strangers on a Pier (2016) in which he explores the cultural vitality of modern Asia through his own complicated family story of migration and adaptation.(WN 2020)
Archive available for: Tash Aw
Whether literature offers solace or confusion, whether it shows the way or disorders, every writer must have been moved in the course of his or her life by a passage, a line, an image or a poem which gave direction to his or her life. Was it a boys' book? A text on a tile? A column? Or rather that highly valued, often quoted passage from world literature? Jonathan Safran Foer, Tash Aw, Ramsey Nasr, Joke van Leeuwen and Petina Gappah read those passages that changed their lives for good, and reveal what happened to them when they read those lines for the first time. The programme starts with a reading from his work by the Iranian author Shahriar Mandanipour.
The Malaysian writer Tash Aw and the Indonesian journalist Andreas Harsono talk about Indonesia as a country of purely outsiders. The characters in Aw's latest novel, Map of the Invisible World, all belong in Indonesia, while being outsiders at the same time. Aw's first novel, The Harmony Silk Factory also was on outsider, but then it dealt with the position of the Chinese in Southeast Asia. Non-fiction writer Andreas Harsono works as a journalist in Indonesia, and in addition writes for a Malaysian paper. He is busy writing a book with the meaningful title A Nation in Name: Debunking the Myth of Indonesian Nationalism. In the discussion we take the year 1964 in Aw's novel as a starting-point, the year in which Indonesia balanced on the verge of civil war. From there the writers, travelling through time, look at the country with the eyes of outsiders. Who was an outsider, and when? How did they view Indonesia? What does it look like now: who are the outsiders today, and who is 'within'? Host: VPRO radio journalist Paul van der Gaag. In English