The Sin­ga­porean nov­el­ist on giv­ing a voice to the marginalised in so­ci­ety

Singapore Tatler - - CONCIERGE -

or as long as she loved read­ing about imag­i­nary worlds, Balli Kaur Jaswal en­joyed writ­ing about them, too. One of the Sin­ga­porean au­thor’s favourite books when she was younger was Roald Dahl’s Matilda, “which had this won­der­ful mix­ture of re­al­ity and magic that made the real world a less daunt­ing place for a kid”. She was also at­tracted to how Amer­i­can writer Judy Blume’s fic­tional char­ac­ters al­ways speak the truth in her sto­ries, and this would later in­spire Balli’s own sto­ries. “My main in­spi­ra­tion to write fic­tion has al­ways been to cre­ate a world of truth, where the un­der­dog tri­umphs be­cause we don’t see enough of that in re­al­ity,” says the Gen­er­a­tion T 2017 hon­ouree, who has three books un­der her belt with one more on the way. Balli taps on her own ex­pe­ri­ences for her writ­ing—her in­ter­na­tion­ally ac­claimed 2017 re­lease, Erotic Sto­ries for Pun­jabi Wid­ows, for in­stance, re­flected her Pun­jabi up­bring­ing and touched on con­tro­ver­sial top­ics such as ar­ranged mar­riages and hon­our killings. Her next book, The Un­likely Ad­ven­tures of the Shergill Sis­ters, which hits stores in April, will deal with is­sues in­clud­ing cul­tural rep­re­sen­ta­tion in the me­dia. In a way, she says, “writ­ing sto­ries is em­pow­er­ing be­cause it’s my chance to set the world right”.

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