Aside from the thrill of being associated with the kind of magazine that puts Justin Timberlake on the cover, I'm happy to be able to commission and choose stories from my favourite local writers. One of my formative experiences, way back in the previous century, was reading short stories in the American Esquire by the likes of Raymond Carver and Jay McInerney. The US magazine no longer publishes fiction regularly, but I hope the Malaysian one can - in a local fashion, natch - fill this void.
Plus, haven't we heard/read so many American stories by now? Isn't it time we celebrated our own?
Speaking of celebration, the first story I chose was by Shih Li-Kow whose book Ripples I reviewed enthusiastically almost three years ago. Her story that I chose, Hungry in Guangzhou, was indeed from Ripples, because to kick off the Fiction section I wanted to give due kudos to a book whose excellence has still yet to be discovered by many.
All subsequent issues will have previously unpublished stories. Let the telling begin!