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The Amazing Year That Was 2023

We've come a long way from October 2020.

Back then, we were frustrated by the lack of Southeast Asian voices and stories coming from the region in popular mainstream publishing. We knew we wanted to do something anything! to change the way Southeast Asia's non-fiction stories were being told, one micro-narrative a time. So off we went: over the last three years, we registered our business, bought a website domain, approached potential authors and conducted a short survey to find out how and what people read these days (or if the death of reading and books was nigh!). We were heartened by the responses we got in our survey; encouraged even — by people's enthusiasm for Southeast Asian publishing and non-fiction.

Fast forward to December, and we have to say 2023 has been a momentous year of firsts for us. We published* our first title — Signals in the Noise: Notes on Penang, Malaysia and the World** — by Malaysian powerhouse and historian Ooi Kee Beng; we had our first author appearance at George Town Literary Festival on 24 November; and we had our first book launch at Gerakbudaya Penang/Hikayat Bookshop on 25 November!

*The e-book will be distributed by Hallenberger Media from early January 2024. **The book was designed by Singapore-based design agency called SWELL; you can read more about the design rationale for the book cover here.

Ooi Kee Beng appearing alongside Janet Steele and James Chai at the 2023 George Town Literary Festival.
Image credit: Faction Press
Full house at the launch of Signals in the Noise at Gerakbudaya Penang / Hikayat Bookshop!
Image credit: Shirley Low
Ooi Kee Beng, Beh May Ting and Fauwaz Abdul Aziz (all of whom are from the Penang Institute).
Image credit: Ooi Kee Beng

We'll be back in Malaysia in 2024 to do more events, so watch this space and follow us on Instagram and Twitter for more updates on that front. We're also pleased to announce that we will be launching Signals in the Noise in Singapore at the wonderful and cosy Book Bar on Friday, 5 January 2024 at 6.30pm-7.30pm. Admission is free and no registration is required! Do drop by if you're interested in meeting Kee Beng, our publisher Shu Wen and chatting more about non-fiction.

To end on a rather sentimental note, this entire micropress and the publication of our first book would not have been possible without a little help from some friends (mainly in the form of a lot of sense checking and editorial help), and immense moral support from friends and family within Singapore and abroad. A huge, huge thank you to all our Faction Friends in the bookselling space across the region as well!

Book spine beauty for Signals in the Noise.
Image credit: Faction Press

We're pumped and excited about our next publication (more details to come in January!), and look forward to adding other Southeast Asian voices to our publishing programme in 2024.

See you in the new year!



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