In an essay, published in a 1964 edition of The Times Literary Supplement, V S Naipaul wrote:
"The language was ours, to use as we pleased. The literature that came with it was therefore of peculiar authority, but this literature was like an alien mythology. There was, for instance, Wordsworth’s notorious poem about the daffodil. A pretty little flower, no doubt; but we had never seen it. Could the poem have any meaning for us?"
He was talking about the irrelevance of English language education that was bottled in the UK and served up to the colonies. He was speaking of the sensibilities that post-colonial writers must have felt when confronted with the British literary canon as their window to a worldview.
He eloquently expressed the perplexity felt by post-colonial writers when confronted with the British literary canon, which had been transplanted to their educational systems. Naipaul's words not only encapsulated the sentiment of those writers but also laid the foundation for the genre known as post-colonial literature.
He, along with his contemporaries, emerged as the pioneering voice of post-colonial literature, paving the way for subsequent generations. Yet, even now, the weight of the British canon lingers as a defining aspect of their literary heritage.
Today, we have the privilege of introducing you to Ivy Ngeow, a remarkable Malaysian author. She embodies the spirit of this literary fusion, skillfully weaving mystery narratives with a diverse tapestry of multicultural voices. Her latest work, "The American Boyfriend," stands as a testament to her storytelling prowess. This novel traverses the landscapes of the UK and the vibrant backdrop of Florida, offering an authentic and insightful narrative that mirrors the complexities of contemporary life.
Join us as we explore the enduring influence of the British canon on post-colonial literature and delve into the remarkable literary journey of Ivy Ngeow, our first Malaysian author on The Literary City.
ABOUT IVY NGEOW
Ivy Ngeow was born and raised in Malaysia. She holds an MA in Writing from Middlesex University, where she won the 2005 Middlesex University Literary Press Prize. Her debut, Cry of the Flying Rhino (2017), was awarded the International Proverse Prize in Hong Kong. Her novels include Heart of Glass (2018), Overboard (2020) and White Crane Strikes (2022). She is the commissioning editor of the Asian Anthology New Writing series. The American Boyfriend was longlisted for the Avon x Mushers Entertainment Prize. She lives in London.
Buy THE AMERICAN BOYFRIEND: https://amzn.to/3QBJiaZ
WHAT'S THAT WORD?!
Co-host Pranati "Pea" Madhav joins Ramjee Chandran in "WHAT'S THAT WORD?!", where they discuss the phrase "WATCHING THE PAINT DRY*
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Background music by Geoff Harvey, Pixabay and Andy Warner, Tunetank