Journal of Postcolonial Writing (Routledge, UK)


Aim and Intellectual Scope of Issue
This special issue addresses a significant gap in the study of Malaysian Literature in English
(MLE) through the exploration of selected local and diasporic writings produced in the new
millennium, including works by established, emerging or new writers. Previous studies on
MLE are focused mainly on the pioneering and second-generation writers and works of the
twentieth century, with little attention given to the developments of the new millennium,
which have been substantial. Although MLE constitutes the fringe in the nation space where
Malay nationalism still thrives, it has nonetheless been enjoying a relatively stable period of
progress in the past two decades, seen in the continuous production of new voices,
viewpoints, themes, trends, styles and forms. Articulating postcolonial perspectives and
conditions of the new millennium, these writings can inform and enrich the study of
postcolonial Malaysia in a globalised and hyperreal age.
Tapping into difference, diversity and hybridity of 21st-century historicised and
glocalised multicultural Malaysia, this special issue thus aims to examine how the
millennium voices and viewpoints can potentially help us to critically rethink and resituate
postcolonial studies on Malaysia, as they spotlight new directions and challenges in the field.
Other aims include: 1) to study new ideas, themes, and perspectives found in the millennium
writings; and 2) how these writings engage postcolonial issues and themes in the exploration
of changing identities and relations and their social, cultural and political dimensions through
the intersections of race, gender, sexuality, class and religion.

Background to Special Issue

Malaysian literature in English has experienced considerable growth in the past two decades.
Other than the works produced by established writers, the millennium has also witnessed the
emergence of new writers in both local and global literary spaces. The millennium writings
can be divided into three categories: 1) works by established writers who are still productive
in the field such as K.S. Maniam, Shirley Geok-lin Lim and Kee Thuan Chye; 2) works of
writers who emerged in the 1990s but established their names in the millennium, including
Bernice Chauly and Dina Zaman; and 3) works of new writers like Shih-li Kow, Iskandar Al-
Bakri and others. Transnational or diasporic Malaysian writers who can be included in this
last category include the award-winning authors Tash Aw, Tan Twan Eng, Rani Manicka,
and Zen Cho. The special issue will also consider the key role played by local publishing
houses like Silverfishbooks and Buku Fixi as well as the annual Georgetown Literary Festival
in providing the much–needed support and space for creative and critical expressions in English.

Key Themes

ï‚· New and emerging generation/millennial voices and writings from both West Malaysia and East Malaysia

ï‚· New and emerging directions and challenges

 New and emerging trends, styles and forms – popular fiction/supernatural/noir/sci-fi /fantasy/speculative fiction
 Transnational and Global Malaysian writings – second generation of diasporic and transnational Malaysian writers

 Glocal Malaysian writings – Malaysian noir/gothic/detective, etc.

 Hyperreality of Malaysia – engagement with new media/social media; new forms of visual culture

 Emerging spaces for creative and critical expressions in English – local publishing houses (Silverfishbooks, Buku Fixi, etc.), Georgetown literary festival

Contact either Prof. Mohammad A. Quayum ( or Dr. Grace V.S. Chin
( by 7 March 2020 for inquires or to indicate interest. Alternatively, send your abstract (300 words max) to one of the editors by 15 April 2020. Full papers (7000 words) will be due by 15 November 2020.