- About the Author
Winner of Best Fiction Title for Singapore Book Awards 2016
Winner of the Singapore Literature Prize for Fiction 2014
Longlisted for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award 2014
Selected by The Business Times as one of the Top 10 English Singapore books from 1965–2015
Meet an over-the-hill Pop Yé-yé singer with a faulty heart, two conservative middle-aged women holding hands in the Galápagos, and the proprietor of a Laundromat with a penchant for Cantonese songs of heartbreak. Rehash national icons: the truth about racial riot fodder-girl Maria Hertogh living out her days as a chambermaid in Lake Tahoe, a mirage of the Merlion as a ladyboy working Orchard Towers, and a high-stakes fantasy starring the still-suave lead of the 1990s TV hit serial The Unbeatables.
Heartfelt and sexy, the stories of Amanda Lee Koe encompass a skewed world fraught with prestige anxiety, moral relativism, sexual frankness, and the improbable necessity of human connection. Told in strikingly original prose, these are fictions that plough, relentlessly, the possibilities of understanding Singapore and her denizens discursively, off-centre. Ministry of Moral Panic is an extraordinary debut collection and the introduction of a revelatory new voice.
“Amanda Lee Koe is mesmerising. Her characters sleepwalk out of a Haruki Murakami novel, across the forgotten set of a Wong Kar-wai film, before nestling in a subway with warm paninis of lust, hysteria, anomie, dissonance and fresh lettuce. One of the finest writers in her generation.”
—Daren Shiau, author of Heartland
“This is possibly the most exciting debut collection of stories by a Singapore writer I've ever read. Amanda Lee Koe has a breathtaking range. Like crystals, the stories are prismatic—but also jagged. Sometimes they deal with uncomfortable subject matter, like rape, or challenging characters, like a self-mutilating, sexually precocious girl. But this is a writer who takes risks. This is the kind of book that will get under your skin because the author herself has spent devoted hours under her characters’.”
—Alfian Sa’at, author of Malay Sketches
“Our winning entry was a unanimous choice, a highly original voice in Singapore writing that we wish to acknowledge and encourage.”
—Dr Meira Chand, chief judge for English Fiction, Singapore Literature Prize 2014
“There is nothing staid or predictable about an Amanda Lee Koe story, and readers expecting another local writer waxing lyrical about the everyday intricacies of HDB life will be pleasantly disappointed. Each story is inventive in its own way, and showcases her astute observational powers and flair for writing in equal parts. [They] break the mould of ones set in Singapore and dealing with Singaporeans, and look set to inspire a new generation of writers by changing their perception of what local short stories can be.”
—Jennani Durai, The Straits Times
Born in Singapore and based in New York, Amanda Lee Koe is the youngest winner of the Singapore Literature Prize for her first short story collection Ministry of Moral Panic, shortlisted for the Haus der Kulturen der Welt's Internationaler Literaturpreis, and the Frankfurt Book Fair's LiBeraturpreis.
The working manuscript for her debut novel, Delayed Rays of A Star, won the Henfield prize, awarded to the best work of fiction by a graduating MFA candidate at Columbia University's Writing Program, and is forthcoming from Nan A. Talese/Doubleday (U.S.) and Bloomsbury (U.K.) in summer 2019.
Cover Type: Paperback
Page Count: 208
Year Published: 2013
Size: 130mm x 200mm