Title: Twelve Strands: Journeys with Asian Authors
Editor: Bernice Lee
Price: SGD 15 (paperback) / SGD 11.20 (ebook)
Like many of my peers, I grew up on a diet of Western literature. From Enid Blyton to Jane Austen to Mark Twain to C.S. Lewis, these are some of countless works that millions over the world know. But when it comes to local literature, as it is in many developing countries, the numbers were few.
Thankfully today, we see marked growth in local literature across nations, and it is an exciting season. It is out of this that Twelve Strands presents the life stories of 12 Asian authors who all share one thing — the almost compulsive need to write.
Each author hails from a different country: Bangladesh, Singapore, Indonesia, Cambodia, and the Philippines, to name a few. Some lived and breathed words from adolescence, others discovered them along the way. Some write children’s books, others pen essays, and still others produce evangelical materials and devotionals. One underlying gold thread weaves through all 12 stories — the call of God to the written word.
Although I connected with a few writing styles better than others, each tale was so particular to the author as a person that none should be discounted. It was fascinating to learn how circumstances that appear non-cohesive eventually come together. That’s not to say that the journeys were perfect or complete. Many rejections and dejection were experienced, and while several now happily declare their niches, few are still riddled with uncertainty. But through it all, God was faithful in leading them to their calling as writers.
This collection also opened my eyes to the literary opportunities to be had in the developing world. Growing up on Western literature was not a bad thing; I’ve gleaned invaluable wisdom from them. But now I also see that we have just as much to offer. Building up the local industry may be a difficult undertaking with all the grooming and honing and polishing still needed, but it is a worthy pursuit.
Twelve Strands was a light read that spoke volumes, because it has caused me to reflect on my own response to the call to write. Firstly, it comforted me to know that I am not alone in this journey. Secondly, it cleared my doubts and inspired me to keep going and, more importantly, to trust God more. He knows my future and where I should be going.
I believe Twelve Strands will also resonate with the general reader and not just the writer. Each of us are given a specific calling or gift, and this book affirms that whatever it is, if it is God-ordained, you can be sure that He will be there beside you bringing you and your good work to completion. It may take years and a few trials, but ultimately, God is the Author, and His stories are always the best.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book gratis from Graceworks, in exchange for an honest and independent review. The opinions are entirely my own. If you’d like me to review your book, drop me a note here.