By Christina Moore, Jia Wen Ho and Leanne Francis
Considered the Stephen King of Malaysia, Tunku Halim is one of the most prolific Malaysian writers. Surprisingly, his first book was a guide for buying a condominium; however, that sparked his passion for writing. He is best known for his dark fantasy stories featuring supernatural beings from Malay folklore, such as the Orang Minyak and Pontianak. There are no limits to what Tunku Halim can write: he has written horror stories, Malaysian history, children’s books, a guide to healthy living and a cookbook. In his own words, “They ask me, what areas do you like to write in? And my answer is always, whatever strikes my fancy.”
Scream to the Shadows
Publisher: Penguin South East Asia, 2019
A collection of twenty stories revolving around the occult world, human madness and the destructive nature of technology. Some of his spine-chilling stories include the returning of an abusive husband’s ghost, a maid using black magic to seduce her employer and the revenge of a grieving father after his children’s murderer.
The Midnight Children: A Vanishing
Publisher: Penguin South East Asia, 2021
Intrigued with a request to make his stories available for children, Tunku Halim started with a story about a vanished father. However, as he wrote, the story grew into a novel, then finally a trilogy. The book follows a brother-sister duo who wake up one morning to find their father has disappeared! This sets off a spooky adventure, where they meet creatures with spider legs, a shaman who gives them a box with a finger bone inside and a ghostly old lady.
Sareeta Domingo is a Black British author from south-east London. Working as an editor for HarperCollins and a writer for various publications, it’s clear that Sareeta has an incredibly busy schedule. Her portfolio as a writer is exceptional, covering everything from contemporary romance and erotica, to book reviews, articles for gal-dem, Black Ballad, Stylist, and leading events for Hachette Books, the Royal Society of Literature and Black Girls Book Club. Sareeta also shares her “Book of the Week” every Thursday on Worldwide Fm. Putting Black women at the forefront of romance and erotica, Sareeta is reshaping contemporary romantic fiction. Her role in improving representation across the publishing landscape makes her the perfect writer to keep on your bookshelf.
The Nearness of You
Publisher: Piatkus, 2016
Sareeta’s first full-length novel, The Nearness of You, published in 2016 by Piatkus, is a story about complicated love and having to make difficult decisions. When Ryan and Taylor meet, they are instantly drawn to one another, sharing an unspoken bond. The catch? Ryan is dating Marcy, Taylor’s best friend.
If I Don’t Have You
Publisher: Jacaranda Books, 2020
Longlisted for the 2021 Diverse Book Awards, If I Don’t Have You, published by Jacaranda Books as part of their historic “Twenty in 2020” initiative, follows the relationship between Afro-Brazilian filmmaker Ren and Black British artist and journalist Kayla. After fate pulls them together in a night of passion, the novel sees hidden secrets force the lovers to question the future of their relationship.
Alexandra Wilson is a barrister who grew up in East London, the eldest of four children; her grandparents were born in Jamaica and came to England as part of the Windrush generation. Alexandra decided to enter the legal profession after losing a close family friend to knife crime. After studying at Oxford University and BPP University in London, Alexandra began her career where she specialises in children and finance law.
Alexandra founded Black Women in Law, which has over 500 members; she also founded One Case at A Time, an organisation that assists disenfranchised minorities in the legal process.
In Black and White: A Young Barrister’s Story of Race and Class in a Broken Justice System
Publisher: Octopus Publishing Group, 2020
In Black and White: A Young Barrister’s Story of Race and Class in a Broken Justice System is Alexandra’s debut book. It recounts her early legal career, the tense scenes in courtrooms, what it feels like to defend someone who hates the colour of your skin and how it feels to be in a profession that lacks diversity. The stark reality for children coerced into county line drug-dealing is brought into sharp focus, as well as the shocking but not unheard of instances in which Alexandra is mistaken for a defendant multiple times in a single day.
This book gives a fresh perspective on one of the world’s oldest professions and shows us how much things still need to change.