Saturday, February 23, 2013

Inking Success

Known for his intricate designs on coffee cups, CHEEMING BOEY, the author of When I Was a Kid, recently toured Malaysia and Singapore to share his passion and inspire young artists. ALYCIA LIM spoke to him in Singapore

WHEN his eight-and-a-half-year relationship ended in 2006, Cheeming Boey packed his bags and left for Thailand for a breath of fresh air. While looking for something to occupy his time with, he stumbled upon Scott Dikkers’s I Went to College and It Was Okay, and was immediately inspired by it. “Having just broken up with my girlfriend at that time, I thought perhaps I should start a blog, and one day she would read it and know that I had changed for the better,” he says.

Thirty-four-year-old Malaysian-born Boey decided that he would use a style similar to Dikkers for his new blog, where he would come up with a cartoon strip each day to document his daily life. “I also thought that, maybe, I’d become popular from my blog. And then it all happened. I mean, the most unlikely thing that I thought would happen, happened.”

As if based on a script, Boey’s life took an unexpected turn when he started drawing on Styrofoam cups around the same time. “When I first drew on a cup, I didn’t expect much from it. In fact, I didn’t expect anything. It was just something I did for fun. Then a friend asked me what I would do with them, and I told him that maybe I could sell them one day.”

It was only when that friend told him the cups wouldn’t sell that Boey decided to take his cup art seriously. “I wanted to prove him wrong. My friend told me no one would buy that ‘crap’, and that was what challenged me to seriously begin to promote and try to sell my cups.”

With lots of patience and determination plus a spirit of competitiveness, he eventually found an avenue to do so at a small arts fair. “The cups were never part of my game plan as I always wanted to do something with my blog first. However, when my cup art started going viral, people also began discovering my blog.”

Today, Boey’s coffee cup art has drawn the attention of artists and art enthusiasts from around the world. A piece of work can take anytime between one day and a month or longer to complete, but it’s always almost in black and white with minimal colours added. “Sometimes, less is more. When you put on too many colours, it can distract you from the drawing itself,” says Boey.

Despite the positive interest he has garnered for his delicate pieces of art, Boey remains steadfast in his daily blog updates. “I like storytelling. Each cup tells a story, but it’s not personal like the blog. I also have fans who have been following my blog for years, and it is important not to let them down.”

Remembering a time when he was close to giving it up entirely, Boey says he is glad he kept the blog going. “It takes me two to three hours a day just to come up with a simple blog post, and I don’t make any money out of it. But looking back, I’m glad I didn’t give it up because it’s the glue that holds everything I do right now.”

He recently published a book, When I Was a Kid, as a reflection of his childhood. Appearing on the bestseller lists in Malaysian bookstores recently, the book, says Boey, is a compilation of his memories as a child growing up in Johor and of his schooldays in Singapore. “The style of my book is very similar to my blog. The only difference is, the book revolves around stories of my childhood, instead of my current day-to-day life.”

Sharing memories of his childhood, the author admits he didn’t always have it easy. “I was a fat kid, and didn’t do very well academically. Six days into Junior College in Singapore, I dropped out and went to the US.”

He has been living in the US ever since. However, the alumnus of the Academy of Art University (AAU) in San Francisco still considers Malaysia and Singapore home. “I try to come back once every six months to visit my family and enjoy the food back home. I love this place, but I only wish there was more emphasis placed on the arts.”

In his tour around Malaysia and Singapore to promote When I Was a Kid, Boey explains that he has a greater purpose in mind. “I’ve always been interested in helping the art industry in Malaysia and Singapore get up to speed, and my books are not my main purpose for touring this part of the world. I want to share how animation is done overseas since that’s the industry I was in originally, and the importance of art.”

He advises aspiring artists and designers to work hard and believe in their work. “I’ve had failures, but I’ve always been willing to take risks because I learned to fail from a very young age. If you try something once and it doesn’t work out, try again.”

Asked if he currently has anything up his sleeve, Boey cheekily replies, “Well, I’m building a bicycle, but everything else is a secret for now.” He did, however, spill the beans about his second book. “My next book is going to be about my travels in the US, but the publication date has yet to be determined.”

With so much going on in his life right now, one can only wonder if this has always been a planned journey for Boey. “I think everyone wants to come out on their own eventually, but for me, it’s happening much earlier than I thought. I’m not complaining; it’s probably a good thing.”

At the end of the day, Boey’s biggest driver is the need to prove himself to others. “I want to make a statement with my work. If the world didn’t care and didn’t say anything about it, it cannot be a statement.”

Reproduced from the October-December 2012 issue of Quill magazine

Friday, February 15, 2013

Ubud Writers & Readers Festival 2012: A Storytellers’ Soiree

ZHANG SU LI learned that the world is truly “Bumi Manusia” at the Ubud Writers & Readers Festival 2012

PRAMOEDYA ANANTA TOER was one of Indonesia’s greatest contemporary writers. While subjected to hard labour, torture and deprivation as a political prisoner on the island prison of Buru in eastern Indonesia, he wrote a story set at the end of Dutch colonial rule. Without pen and paper, he did not actually “write” this story; he narrated it to his fellow prisoners, who then spread it to the other prisoners. This was how his story was preserved. Years later, when he was granted access to writing materials the story evolved into the epic, This Earth of Mankind (Bumi Manusia). The title of Pramoedya’s novel was the theme of this year’s Ubud Writers & Readers Festival (UWRF), celebrating the enduring power of storytelling. From October 3 to 7, 2012, a diverse group of 140 writers from 30 countries congregated in Ubud, the cultural heart of Bali, to share their stories.


Anuradha Roy, author of An Atlas of Impossible Longing
and The Folded Earth
I arrived at Samhita Garden, a lovely little resort on a quiet lane off the main road, on a Tuesday afternoon, one day before the festival. The familiar sounds of gamelan floating softly in the air, moss-covered stone frogs with mouths agape shooting thin streams of water into a pond, roosters crowing from a distant village, and a gardener greeting me with a smile and a “Selamat siang” transported me to a universe far away from the world of meetings and stressful deadlines. Here were stories of adventure and exploration, of joy and sadness, of courage and endurance, stories of the mind and of the heart. From their hotels all over Ubud, participants are brought to their first dinner together.

For me, this dinner is always a little exciting and daunting. One had to find somebody to talk to, a few to mingle with, or suffer the fate of standing in a corner with a drink in one hand and a canapé in another, hoping that someone would come over and start a conversation. A traditional Balinese dance started halfway through cocktails.

“What dance is that?” A lady with a northern Indian accent asked.

“It’s a traditional Balinese dance.” Of course it is, I thought. “But I do not know exactly what it’s called,” I continued.

She introduced herself as Anuradha Roy.

“Oh! I saw your name in the programme. At first glance I thought it was Arundhati Roy.” As soon as those words flew from my lips, I realised how offensive they were, especially to an author as accomplished as Anuradha Roy. The programme notes stated that she had won several awards for her novels.

“Oh, yes,” she smiled. “In fact, someone wrote on her blog that Arundhati Roy has a new book out!”

I immediately liked her. Over dinner, I learned that she and her husband live in a cottage in Ranikhet, north India, at the foot of the snow-capped Himalayas. She told me about how they first saw the derelict cottage, at the tip of a slope.

“We had to stand on tip-toes because the place was a soggy mess of plastic bags, warped shoes, dented tins and bottles. The cottage had broken windows blinded with sheets of newspaper browned with age. Inside, the floor was a mound of dank mud. Rotted sacking hung from a ruined false ceiling. Beams of wood sagged from it. And in one corner, stood a dog.” Anuradha’s face lit up. “Its eyes shone in its sooty face. Its peaked ears were the colour of copper, and its fringed tail waved slowly side to side, like a banner. Only a few things in life can be pinned to particular moments. And this was one: we knew immediately, my husband and I, that we would live there, in that cottage, on that hill.”

In the same year that they began restoring the cottage, they were also struggling to establish their publishing house. Being in a desolate place, with no Internet access or mobile phone lines, things naturally moved at a different pace. A tree fell onto a wire and they had no power for several days.

“Days passed,” she said, “weeks.”

The carpenter didn’t turn up because his fruit trees had been ravaged by monkeys. Not long after, the plumber went back to his village to tend to his sick buffalo.

“We waited.”

When he returned, he had nothing to do because the taps had not arrived—a landslide had blocked the road.

“We waited.”

Anuradha began planting lily bulbs and rose cuttings. An elderly lady herding goats approached her and said, “Everything happens in its own time. Flowers bloom in their own time.”

Anuradha’s first novel, An Atlas of Impossible Longing, was rejected sixteen times, but she persisted in sending out her manuscript. Weeks passed, months. She waited. When it was finally published a year later, it was translated into 15 languages across the world. Soon after, it was shortlisted for The Economist Crossword Award, longlisted for the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, and was named by World Literature Today as one of the 60 most essential books on modern India. Her second novel, The Folded Earth, was longlisted for the Man Asia Literary Prize, and won The Economist Crossword Award for Fiction 2012.

Flowers bloom in their own time.


Janet Steele
The festival atmosphere started to gather momentum the following evening when the rest of the writers arrived. Small groups of people had already gathered on the streets just outside the entrance of the Ubud Palace where the opening festival was held.

An elegant lady dressed in a colourful tropical print halter-neck dress sat on the edge of a gazebo. I had met Janet Steele at the UWRF two years before, and was delighted to see her again.

I sat next to her and asked her what she had been up to. After telling me with child-like excitement about the Malaysian claypot egg tofu with fish roe that she experimented with recently (it turned out delicious), we moved on to the book on journalism and Islam in the Malay Archipelago that she’s currently working on.

I’ve always wondered what drew Steele to Asia. Originally from Florida, and now Associate Professor of Journalism at the School of Media and Public Affairs at George Washington University, she has lectured on the theory and practice of journalism as a State Department Speaker and Specialist in India, Malaysia, the Philippines, East Timor, Taiwan, Burma, Sudan, Egypt and Bangladesh.

Based in Jakarta, she makes frequent visits to Kuala Lumpur where she works closely with Malaysiakini, Malaysia’s only independent news portal. Her Anglo-Saxon looks—golden hair and blue eyes—always causes a few surprised stares from strangers whenever she speaks Indonesian or Malay, and fluently too. “I’ve always had an interest in the intersection of news and culture,” Steele said when I asked her why she decided to write a book on journalism and Islam.

“I started working on the book after it occurred to me that although the values of good journalism—truth, balance, verification, independence from power—are universal, people the whole world over understand those values through the prisms of local culture.”

“So, what then,” I asked, “in your opinion, is good journalism?”

“Giving the people the information they need in order to make wise decisions in both their public and private lives,” she replied.

What could be nobler than that?


The sound of the gong proclaimed that the festival had officially begun. The afternoon sun that felt like tiny pins on my skin earlier on had let up a little. There was even a cool breeze to announce the approaching evening. We headed to Casa Luna for dinner.

Dr. Neal Hall, a muscular man with jovial face and an extremely pleasant personality, joined us at our table. He earned his undergraduate degree at Cornell University where he achieved All Ivy, All East Coast, and All American Honors. He also has a medical degree from Michigan State University, and obtained his ophthalmology surgical subspecialty training at Harvard University.

In his anthology of poems, an introduction reads:
Christians speak of being born again.
The Buddhist speaks of enlightenment.
Not until I experienced
the Zenist’s satori,
this sudden awakening,
did I come to the realization that
despite all insurmountable obstacles
faced and overcome,
to white America,
I am a Nigger for Life
I asked Dr. Hall if the situation really was that bad.

“As a young boy, I was taught to believe Washington never told a lie, Lincoln freed the slaves, that the American dream was a reality well within the reach of every American,” he answered with a smile. “And that all I needed to do to make this dream a reality was apply self-motivation, discipline, hard work and education. After years of academic rigours, freshly minted from a Harvard ophthalmic medical and surgical subspecialty in tow, I discovered, painfully, that despite all my hard work, enthusiasm and drive, America does not deliver equally. Whether I work as an ophthalmologist or poet, my reality is clear-cut. In the eyes of ‘unspoken America’, I am a Nigger for Life.”

The next day I bumped into Dr. Hall again at Casa Luna, waiting for a shuttle van. A Caucasian couple was sitting at a table near the entrance. We took a table next to theirs. Soon after we sat down, the couple moved to another table. Hall took out his book—Nigger for Life, showed it to them and, with a big smile, pointed at himself. I didn’t turn to see how they responded, but we both chuckled with amusement.


Don George, editor of Better Than Fiction:
True Travel Tales from Great Fiction Writers
I shared the panel session, “Honest, I’m working”, with Don George, author of the bestselling Lonely Planet’s Guide to Travel Writing and editor of eight travel anthologies, including The Kindness of Strangers and Better Than Fiction: True Travel Tales from Great Fiction Writers. George is also editor-at-large for National Geographic Traveler.

We were each asked to share with the audience the most touching story from our years of travel. Many stories came to mind. I had to choose only one. So I told the one about the day I truly believed that my life was about to end in the most horrifying way.

“An auto-rickshaw driver took me to his friend’s restaurant for a ‘free and delicious’ dinner. While waiting for the food to arrive, Sunil gave me a glass of Indian gin, which he said was ‘very special’. I tried it, and after a few gulps, I felt dizzy and terribly uncomfortable. The room was spinning. I was close to passing out. I told Sunil to take me back to my hotel, but he insisted that we stayed on. After much insistence from me, he reluctantly agreed.

“Although I was almost unconscious, I realised that the route we were taking looked nothing like the one we took to get to the restaurant. We were in a jungle, on a narrow dirt path. We were in complete darkness, and all I could hear was the sound of bushes and twigs brushing against the sides of the auto-rickshaw. Even though it was clear to me that my life was fast reaching its end, and that my soul would take the trauma with it into my next existence, I did not panic. I was simply too ill to feel any fear. And besides, we were alone in a dark jungle. Nobody would hear me if I screamed.

“Half an hour later, we came to a halt. My eyes were closed, but I heard Sunil talking in Hindi to two men who dragged me out of the auto-rickshaw. Then I saw the lights of my hotel lobby. Sunil told me that he had instructed the men, who were the hotel staff, to take me as far as the door of my room, and that they were not to enter. “

The next day, Sunil came to check on me. For the next few days he took me to some magnificent places that hardly anyone knew about, let alone tourists. There was nobody in sight for miles, and I felt perfectly safe with him.”

George’s story was about a boy who suddenly appeared out of nowhere to help him. “I was lost in a crowded bazaar in Cairo. After hopelessly trying to get out of the maze-like market, I felt a small hand on mine. Turning round, I saw that it belonged to a little boy. The boy led me through the narrow snake-like lanes until we were out and facing the main road. I felt the boy release his hand. When I turned to look at him, he had disappeared. I’ve met many people like this little boy, who were like angels that suddenly turned up from nowhere when you needed help.”

* * *

These are just a few of the stories I heard at the UWRF. Everyone had one to tell. But every success story was preceded by a sad backstory—stories of rejection, horrible contracts, bad distribution, non-existent marketing and publicity, and a list of other miseries that often made them wish they had taken up law or accountancy instead. Yet it is these struggles that make them so human: humble, wise, light-hearted, full of life, and devoid of the feeling of self-importance—traits that all truly good writers seem to have.

And my story? I want to tell something to all those people who assume I lead a glamorous life, people who, after discovering I’m a writer, predictably exclaim, “Wow, that’s a dream life you’re living” or, “You must get a really good ‘advance’, right?” Or, “So, you have a cottage by the sea, or a villa in the highlands that gives you the peace and quiet you need to write?” I want to tell them that for five days in the year (provided I get invited to the festival), yes, I do lead a glamorous life!

Friday, February 01, 2013

February 2013 Highlights

1. The Blind Man’s Garden (Faber & Faber, 2013) / Nadeem Aslam
2. Five Star Billionaire (Fourth Estate/Spiegel & Grau, 2013) / Tash Aw
3. American Elsewhere (Orbit, 2013) / Robert Jackson Bennett
4. Ten White Geese (trans. from the Dutch by David Colmer) (Penguin USA, 2013) / Gerbrand Bakker
5. All the Beggars Riding (Faber & Faber, 2013) / Lucy Caldwell
6. All This Talk of Love (Algonquin Books, 2013) / Christopher Castellani
7. Worthless Men (Sceptre, 2013) / Andrew Cowan
8. Harvest (Picador/Nan A. Talese, 2013) / Jim Crace
9. The Sound of Broken Glass (William Morrow/HarperCollins, 2013) / Deborah Crombie
10. Flimsy Little Plastic Miracles (Viking, 2013) / Ron Currie, Jr.

11. A Thousand Pardons (Random House, 2013) / Jonathan Dee
12. Little Exiles (HarperCollins, 2013) / Robert Dinsdale
13. A Hologram for the King (Hamish Hamilton, 2013) / Dave Eggers
14. Percival Everett by Virgil Russell (Graywolf Press, 2013) / Percival Everett
14. Mimi (Bloomsbury Circus, 2013) / Lucy Ellmann
15. The Unknown Bridesmaid (Chatto & Windus, 2013) / Margaret Forster
16. Schroder (Twelve, 2013) / Amity Gaige
17. As Sweet As Honey (Alfred A. Knopf, 2013) / Indira Ganesan
18. Tirza (trans. from the Dutch by Sam Garrett) (Open Letter, 2013) / Arnon Grunberg
19. The Carrier (Hodder & Stoughton, 2013) / Sophie Hannah
20. The Engagement (Scribner, 2013) / Chloe Hooper

21. Exodus (Melville House, 2013) / Lars Iyer
22. Exposure (published as Second Person Singular in the U.S.) (trans. from the Hebrew by Mitch Ginsberg) (Chatto & Windus, 2013) / Sayed Kashua
22. White Masks (trans. from the Arabic by Maia Tabet) (MacLehose Press, 2013) / Elias Khoury
23. See Now Then (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2013) / Jamaica Kincaid
24. The Dinner (trans. from the Dutch by Sam Garrett) (Hogarth Press, 2013) / Herman Koch
25. The House of Trembling Leaves (Sandstone Press, 2013) / Julian Lees
26. Farewell, Dorothy Parker (Putnam, 2013) / Ellen Meister
27. The Comfort of Lies (Atria Books, 2013) / Randy Susan Meyers
28. Heartbreak Hotel (Chatto & Windus, 2013) / Deborah Moggach
29. The Gospel According to Cane (Telegram Books, 2013) / Courttia Newland
30. Motherland (Quercus, 2013) / William Nicholson

31. Daddy Love (Head of Zeus, 2013) / Joyce Carol Oates
32. Instructions for a Heatwave (Tinder Press, 2013) / Maggie O’Farrell
33. This Magnificent Desolation (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2013) / Thomas O’Malley
34. The Storyteller (Atria Books/Simon & Schuster, 2013) / Jodi Picoult
35. Orkney (Granta Books, 2013) / Amy Sackville
36. Out of the Easy (Philomel, 2013) / Ruta Sepetys
37. A Treacherous Likeness (Corsair, 2013) / Lynn Shepherd
38. The Light and the Dark (trans. from the Russian by Andrew Bromfield) (Quercus, 2013) / Mikhail Shishkin
39. Temple of a Thousand Faces (NAL Trade, 2013) / John Shors
40. The City of Devi (W.W. Norton, 2013) / Manil Suri

41. The Scent of Death (HarperCollins, 2013) / Andrew Taylor
42. The Bathing Women (trans. from the Chinese by Hongling Zhang & Jason Sommer) (Blue Door, 2013) / Tie Ning
43. The Love Song of Jonny Valentine (Free Press, 2013) / Teddy Wayne
44. The Fate of Mercy Alban (Hyperion, 2013) / Wendy Webb
45. Lenin’s Kisses (trans. from the Chinese by Carlos Rojas) (Chatto & Windus, 2013) / Yan Lianke
46. The Retrospective (trans. from the Hebrew by Stuart Schoffman) (Halban Publishers, 2013) / A.B. Yehoshua

First Novels
1. Frances and Bernard (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013) / Carlene Bauer
2. The People of Forever Are Not Afraid (Hogarth, 2013) / Shani Boianjiu
3. Byron Easy (William Heinemann, 2013) / Jude Cook
4. Indiscretion (William Morrow, 2013) / Charles Dubow
5. The Rainbow Troops (trans. from the Indonesian by Angie Kilbane) (Sarah Crichton Books/Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2013) / Andrea Hirata
6. The Night Rainbow (Bloomsbury, 2013) / Claire King
7. The Specimen (Canongate Books, 2013) / Martha Lea
8. The First Book of Calamity Leek (Hutchinson, 2013) / Paula Lichtarowicz
9. The Fields (Little, Brown, 2013) / Kevin Maher
10. Three Graves Full (Gallery Books, 2013) / Jamie Mason

11. Wise Men (Reagan Arthur Books, 2013) / Stuart Nadler
12. The Spiral House (Umuzi, 2013) / Claire Robertson
13. With or Without You (Spiegel & Grau, 2013) / Domenica Ruta
14. Autobiography of Us (Henry Holt, 2013) / Aria Beth Sloss
15. Little Known Facts (Bloomsbury USA, 2013) / Christine Sneed
16. The Mussel Feast (trans. from the German by Jamie Bulloch) (Peirene Press, 2013) / Birgit Vanderbeke
17. The House on the Cliff (Macmillan, 2013) / Charlotte Williams
18. Wash (Atlantic Monthly Press, 2013) / Margaret Wrinkle

1. The Scattering (Seren, 2013) / Jaki McCarrick
2. Middle Men (Simon & Schuster, 2013) / Jim Gavin
3. Black Vodka (And Other Stories, 2013) / Deborah Levy
4. Revenge (trans. from the Japanese by Stephen Snyder) (Harvill Secker, 2013) / Yoko Ogawa
5. Binocular Vision (Pushkin Press, 2013) / Edith Pearlman
6. Nothing Gold Can Stay (Ecco, 2013) / Ron Rash
7. Vampires in the Lemon Grove (Alfred A. Knopf, 2013) / Karen Russell
8. Portraits of a Few of the People I’ve Made Cry (Bloomsbury USA, Nov 2010) / Christine Sneed
9. We Live in Water (Harper Perennial, 2013) / Jess Walter

1. Just Saying (Wesleyan, 2013) / Rae Armantrout
2. The Children’s War and Other Poems (Salt Publishing, 2013) / Shaindel Beers
3. Blowout (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2013) / Denise Duhamel
4. Oswald’s Book of Hours (Smokestack Books, 2013) / Steve Ely
5. Poems 1962-2012 (Carcanet Press, 2013) / Louise Glück
6. The Oldest Word for Dawn: New and Selected Poems (Alfred A. Knopf, 2013) / Brad Leithauser
7. Hill of Doors (Picador, 2013) / Robin Robertson
8. Incarnadine (Graywolf Press, 2013) / Mary Szybist

1. Tennessee Williams: A Literary Life (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013) / John Bak
2. Miracles of Life: Shanghai to Shepperton, An Autobiography (Liveright, 2013) / J.G. Ballard
3. Calcutta: Two Years in the City (Union Books/Aurum Press, 2013) / Amit Chaudhuri
4. Return of a King: The Battle for Afghanistan (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2013) / William Dalrymple
5. Unfinished Empire: The Global Expansion of Britain (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2013) / John Darwin
6. The Lives of Erich Fromm: Love’s Prophet (Columbia University Press, 2013) / Lawrence J. Friedman (with assistance from Anke M. Schreiber)
7. The Silence of Animals: On Progress and Other Modern Myths (Allen Lane, 2013) / John Gray
8. Staring at Lakes: A Memoir of Love, Melancholy and Magical Thinking (Hatchette Books Ireland, 2013) / Michael Harding
9. Making Love: A Memoir (New Island Books, 2013) / Tom Inglis
10. The Pity of Partition: Manto’s Life, Times, and Work Across the India-Pakistan Divide (Princeton University Press, 2013) / Ayesha Jalal

11. Is God Happy?: Selected Essays (Basic Books, 2013) / Leszek Kolakowski
12. Landscapes of the Metropolis of Death: Reflections on Memory and Imagination (trans. from the Hebrew by Ralph Mandel) (Belknap Press, 2013) / Otto Dov Kulka
13. Give Me Everything You Have: On Being Stalked (published in the UK as Give Me Everything You Have: Notes On a Crisis) (Jonathan Cape/Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2013) / James Lasdun
14. To Show and to Tell: The Craft of Literary Nonfiction (Free Press, 2013) / Phillip Lopate
15. Portrait Inside My Head (Free Press, 2013) / Phillip Lopate
16. C.S. Lewis: A Life: Eccentric Genius, Reluctant Prophet (Tyndale Press, 2013) / Alister McGrath
17. This Is Running for Your Life (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2013) / Michelle Orange
18. With or Without You (Spiegel & Grau, 2013) / Domenica Ruta
19. How Literature Saved My Life (Alfred A. Knopf, 2013) / David Shields
20. Graven With Diamonds: The Many Lives of Thomas Wyatt: Poet, Lover, Statesman, and Spy in the Court of Henry VIII (Steerforth Press, 2013) / Nicola Shulman

21. Far From The Tree: A Dozen Kinds of Love (Chatto & Windus, 2013) / Andrew Solomon
22. R.S. Thomas: Serial Obsessive (University of Wales Press, 2013) / M. Wynn Thomas
23. The Fun Stuff & Other Essays (Jonathan Cape, 2013) / James Wood