Interviews with writers, publishers, and others in the Pacific Rim and South Asia

Camens and Eng

Jane Camens and Tan Twan Eng

Autumn 2008

Interviews with Jane Camens and Tan Twan Eng

This month WaterBridge Review offers up two interviews. Tan Twan Eng, author of the much-praised debut novel Gift of Rain, talks about his interest in colonial Penang and the Japanese occupation, how he approached writing the novel, and why Humbert Humbert is his favorite fictional character. Executive director of the Asia-Pacific Writing Partnership, Jane Camens, describes the APWP’s 2007 inaugural meeting in Bali, highlights what she hopes the organization’s impact will be, and discusses her longtime interest in the region’s writers.

Past conversations

2008 Kiriyama Prize Judges
March 2008
Judges for the 2008 Kiriyama Prize talk about the judging process and the year’s top choices.

Gail Tsukiyama
December 2007
San Francisco Bay Area author and WBR book reviews editor Gail Tsukiyama tallks about her latest novel, Street of a Thousand Blossoms

Alan Chong Lau
October 2007
Seattle poet, artist, and green grocer Alang Chong Lau tells us what he’s up to lately.

Abigail Friedman
June 2007
Kiriyama Prize judge Bridget Boylan talks with 2007 Kiriyama Prize finalist in nonfiction Abigail Friedman about her memoir, The Haiku Apprentice.

Madeleine Thien
June 2007
Canadian novelist Madeleine Thien speaks with former Kiriiyama Prize judge Alden Mudge about her  first novel, Certainty.

Judges for the 2007 Kiriyama Prize
March 2007
The chorus of voices that made up the 2007 fiction and nonfiction panels reflects on what’s best about the judging process, what’s hardest, and—once the judging spree is over—what to do with all the extra time.

Peter Goodman
December 2006
Peter Goodman, founder and editor of West Coast publisher Stone Bridge Press, talks to WaterBridge Review books review editor Gail Tsukiyama.

Will Schwalbe
December 2006
Will Schwalbe, founder and editor-in-chief at Hyperion East, discusses the challenges and joys of publishing literature in translation with Jeannine Stronach, manager of the Kiriyama Prize.

Luis Alberto Urrea
September 2006
Luis Alberto Urrea, author of The Hummingbird’s Daughter, winner of the 2006 Kiriyama Prize for fiction, talks with Lauro Flores, chair of the Department of American Ethnic Studies at the University of Washington.

Marcia Schneider
September 2006
Marcia Schneider, the San Francisco Public Library’s Chief of Communications, Collections and Adult Services, tells colleague Laura Lent why the Library chose The Hummingbird’s Daughter as its One City One Book selection for 2006.

James Rosenthal and Gail Tsukiyama
March 2006
Dr. Peter Coughlan, Administrator of the Kiriyama Prize, talks with Ambassador James Rosenthal, Chair of the 2006 nonfiction panel, and novelist Gail Tsukiyama, Chair of the 2006 fiction panel, about the judging process, the finalists, and the many other worthwhile books that were submitted for this year’s award.

Lisa See
September 2005
Lisa See was born in Paris but grew up in Los Angeles, spending much of her time in Chinatown. Her most recent novel, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, is now available in paperback.

Charles Wohlforth
July 2005
Journalist Charles Wohlforth is the author of The Whale and the Supercomputer: On the Northern Front of Climate Change. His experience with climate change comes from years spent traveling Alaska’s wilderness and towns, where nature rubs against civilization’s rim. Wolhforth lives in lives in Anchorage, Alaska.


June 2005
Ha Jin has been
awarded the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction twice, first in 2000 for
Waiting and again in 2005 for War Trash. His collection of short stories,
Under the Red Flag, received the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short
Fiction and was a finalist for the Kiriyama Pacific Rim Book Award
in 1997. Ha Jin is a professor of English at Boston University.

Robert Sullivan
January 2005
A member of the Maori tribe Nga Puhi, Robert Sullivan has won several national New Zealand book awards. Since 1990, he has written four books of poetry, most recently Captain Cook in the Underworld. He has also written a graphic novel and a children’s book, Weaving Earth and Sky: Myths and Legends of Aotearoa. Sullivan was a judge for the 2005 Kiriyma Prize for fiction.

Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston and James D. Houston
November 2004
Award-winning authors James D. Houston and Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston, who collaborated on the bestselling book, Farewell to Manzanar, discuss working together, their different approaches to writing, and what they’re working on now.
Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston’s latest title, The Legend of Fire Horse Woman, was recently published in paperback.

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
September 2004
Born in India, best-selling author Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni came to the United States at the age of nineteen.
Her story collection, Arranged Marriage, received several awards, including the American Book Award.
Divakaruni currently teaches creative writing at the University of Houston.

Sean O’Reilly
July 2004
Author and editor Sean O’Reilly recounts the story of Travelers’ Tales. Headquartered in San Francisco, Travelers’ Tales has more 70 books in print and publishes 8-12 new titles a year.

Maxine Hong Kingston
May 2004
Award-winning author Maxine Hong Kingston, whose acclaimed books include The Woman Warrior and China Men, discusses her latest title, The Fifth Book of Peace, her heroines in fiction, and bravery.

Patrick Lloyd Hatcher and Elisa Miller
March 2004
The chairs for the fiction and nonfiction panel of judges for the 2004 Kiriyama Book Prize talk about the 2004 winners, the judging process, and having to choose between cabernet and merlot.