At the Margins of the Margins: Liang Fang and Sinophone Sarawakian Fiction
Sinophone Sarawakian literature is produced and circulates in a position of multiple marginality. Written in Sarawak, a geographically peripheral entity within the Federation of Malaysia and not produced in the national language (Malay or Bahasa Malaysia), it finds itself on the fringes of several literary realms: at the margins of Malaysian Sinophone literature, which has its center in Peninsular Malaysia, and at the periphery of Malaysian national literature, which only includes texts written in Malay. Despite this position, I argue that Sinitic-language Sarawakian literature goes beyond its frontiers and is able to deal with issues of great relevance, such as the environment and multi-ethnic relations, without having to compromise its local characteristics. Through the analysis of “Longtuzhu” a short story by prominent Sarawakian writer Liang Fang, both representative of Sinophone Sarawakian literature in terms of themes and sensibility, I aim at exploring the characteristics of Sinitic-language Sarawakian fiction, while also presenting an author, a text and, ultimately, an entire body of literature unjustly neglected by international scholarship.
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