Souvankham Thammavongsa has released four poetry collections to high acclaim, including 2019’s Cluster. The same year, she also won an O. Henry Award for her short story “Slingshot.” The author, who was born in Thailand and rasied in Canada, has turned her eye away from poetry long enough to put together an emotional and personal story collection that features that award-winning story.Continue reading “Poet Souvankham Thammavongsa turns her eye to a debut story collection”
In his debut novel, Bangkok Wakes to Rain, Pitchaya Sudbanthad threads together woven stories set in his birthplace to piece together a reveal a history reaching back in time to the near future.
Though the author was born in Thailand, he was raised in Saudi Arabia as well as America, all of which influenced his writing. His desire to write about Bangkok stems from his yearly visits there where he has an intimate understanding of the city but still feels like a visitor every time.
The novel’s many narratives include an American doctor nearly a century ago, a Thai photographer in the 1970s living in Los Angeles, and a Thai restauranter living working in Japan. These characters, and more, all reveal the beautifully rich interworkings of the city’s politics, neighborhoods, and relationships.
I spoke with the author about crafting his debut novel, how place influenced his work, and Thailand’s cultural exports.Continue reading “Pitchaya Sudbanthad on the culture and history in ‘Bangkok Wakes to Rain’”