Cover Story: Shih-Li’s Story

This article first appeared in Options, The Edge Malaysia Weekly, on March 4, 2019 - March 10, 2019.
Cover Story: Shih-Li’s Story
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Award-winning author Shih-Li Kow on contemporary Malaysian fiction as a record of the times we live in.

Ask local author Shih-Li Kow why she writes and she mulls her reply. “I don’t think I can pin it down exactly. Sometimes I think it’s because I want to leave a record of these times that we are living in. Many [people] are writing about historical periods and there is a lot of science fiction. We don’t have much fiction on contemporary Malaysia in this day and age. I think fiction fills a gap, a space. It’s not news but a record of what it is like to live in this particular time.

“Sometimes I think maybe I’m just writing for myself, to say what I have to say. When I start writing, it’s definitely for myself. I don’t have a reader profile or know who I am targeting. It’s quite hard to write for a specific reader.”

What Kow, whose given name can be translated as “beautiful poem”, knows for sure is that writing suits her nature. “I’m not very sociable. I can be quite anti-social sometimes. I think writing fits me because it is solitary. It is my outlet.”

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