Wena Poon

Wena Poon (方慧娜, born 1974)[1] is a lawyer and novelist[2] based in the United States.[3] She writes English-language fiction. Her work has been seen by academics in the UK, US and Singapore as representative of the transnationalism[4] of her generation.[5][6]

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. . . Wena Poon . . .

Poon began writing novels and plays in her early teens[7][unreliable source?]. She obtained her degrees in English literature and law from Harvard University. She is a corporate finance lawyer by profession. Born and raised in Singapore, she has lived in Hong Kong, New York, Boston, San Francisco and Austin.[8] Her family is of Chinese Teochew descent and has lived in Singapore for five generations. According to Poon her grandmother and the story of her family as well as her home country during WWII served as a major inspiration to her as a writer.[9] She speaks English, French, Mandarin, Teochew, Cantonese and Hokkien[clarification needed] and reads Japanese script. These languages are sometimes used in her English-language fiction. She claimed that she had grown up with multilingual radio broadcasts and television series including M*A*S*H. Poon herself described her childhood as “audio-visual”. She is a photography enthusiast and has incorporated some of her photographs as illustration to her novella “Kami and Kaze”. Poon is also a fan of anime, manga as well as the works of the film director and actor Takeshi Kitano.[10]

Since her first book was released in 2008, Poon has won the Willesden Herald Short Story Prize (UK), and has been nominated for the Frank O’Connor Award (Ireland), Le Prix Hemingway (France), the Bridport Prize in Poetry (UK), the Singapore Literature Prize,[11][12] and the Popular Readers Award (Malaysia).

Lions in Winter (2007) portrays the Singapore Chinese diaspora in America, Canada, Australia and England.[13] It was published in the US and Europe by Salt Publishing London and in Asia by MPH Group Publishing. It was a Straits Times best-seller in Singapore,[14] was longlisted for the 2008 Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award[15] and shortlisted for the 2008 Singapore Literature Prize.[16]

In 2009, Poon released The Proper Care of Foxes. Using Voltaire’s “Il fault cultiver notre jardin” as a theme, the stories take place in Singapore, Hanoi, Hong Kong, London, New York, and Palo Alto. The title story is about a high-flying young London banker who was laid off during the recession and his chance encounter with an old classmate from Malaysia. Published by Ethos Books, it earned her a second longlist nomination for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award and another nomination for the Singapore Literature Prize.[17]

In 2013, Poon released Maxine, Aoki, Beto + Me, her third short fiction collection featuring stories and her black and white photographs from around the world. Most of the stories have been previously published in international literary anthologies[18] and journals in 2010–2012, including “The Architects”, winner of the Willesden Herald Prize in London[19] and “Dialogue Between Novillera and Minotaur”, shortlisted for the Prix Hemingway in France.

. . . Wena Poon . . .

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