doctoral researcher

What is a 
Global Malaysian Novel?
When a Malaysian novel is written, published, distributed and sold outside Malaysian borders, to what extent is it still a Malaysian novel?

My doctoral dissertation explores contemporary transnational cultural productions in Southeast Asia in relation to both local literary histories and wider Western-based frameworks such as World and Postcolonial Literature. I chart the history of Malaysian literary discourse over three centuries in order to make sense of the contemporary.

This project is supported by the School of Culture & Communication at the University of Melbourne. It is funded by the Australian Department of Education Research and Training Programme (RTP).

Peer-reviewed Publications
Liew, Brandon K. 2021. “The Unquiet Dreams of Lesser Malaysian Writers: Tradition and the Global Malaysian Novel”. Archiv orientální 89 (2), 283-310. ​ 

Cited by Theo D'haen in A History of World Literature published by Routledge.
29 May 2024
DOI: 10.4324/9781003366713
ISBN: 9781003366713

Cited by Kuei-fen Chiu & Táňa Dluhošová
14 October 2021
DOI: 10.47979/aror.j.89.2.223-236 ​

"Brandon Liew, in his essay “The Unquiet Dreams of Lesser Malaysian Writers: Tradition and the Global Malaysian Novel,” introduces another perspective which is crucial for discussion of Asian literatures and cultures, namely postcolonial discourse. The article addresses the complexity of this question within the context of multilingual and multicultural Malaysia. Some of the most prominent transnational Malaysian writers, such as Tash Aw and Tan Twan Eng, use English for their literary production. Others such as Lee Yungping, Ng Kim Chew, and Chang Kuei-hsing, use Chinese. Any discussion of the success stories of these writers in the English or Chinese/Sinophone worlds would benefit from consideration of the uncongenial publishing environment for minority writers like them in a country where national literature is defined as literature in Malay. How can we study the global Malaysian novel as world literature without overlooking its relationship to the threefold entanglement of tradition, nation, and language? Liew’s article reveals the intricate tension between national literature and world literature."
Liew, Brandon K. “Engmalchin and the Plural Imaginings of Malaysia; or, the ’Arty-Crafty Dodgers of Reality.” Exclamat!On: An Interdisciplinary Journal 2 (June 2018): 94–120.
Cited by
11 June 2021
Critical Introduction of Wang Gungwu
Written by Jonathan Chan

Academic Publications

Archiv Orientalni: Journal of African & Asian Studies
"The Unquiet Dreams of Lesser Writers: Tradition and the Global Malaysian Novel"
Vol 89
pgs 35-61

Exclamat!On: An Interdisciplinary Journal
"Engmalchin; or, the 'Arty-Crafty Dodgers of Reality'"
Vol 1
pgs 94-120

Public Affiliations
Persatuan Penulis Malaysia (Malaysian Writers Society)

Asian Art Dialogue (AAD)
Founding Member

Melbourne-Monash Asian Studies Group (MMASG)
Founding Member

Culture & Communications Graduate Committee (CCGC)

Asian Studies Association Australia (ASAA)
Professional Member

Malaysia & Singapore Society of Australia (MASSA)
Professional Member

Modern Language Association (MLA)
Professional Member

American Comparative Literature Society (ACLA)
Professional Member




Conference Papers

Modern Language Association (MLA)
"Global Markets, Local Stories: A history of Malayan literature as a literature of Malayan history"
San Francisco

American Comparative Literature Association
"A Sundaland of Publishing: Malaysian Literature as Global Literature"
National Taiwan Normal University

Texts & their limits: Australian Triennial Literary Studies Convention
"Malaysian Literature in the context of a National Tradition"
Victoria University

English & Theatre Seminar Series
"Malaysian Literary History through T.S. Eliot"
University of Melbourne


Asia at the Crossroads: Ruptures and Hopes
“The Unquiet Dreams of Lesser Malaysian Writers"
Melbourne-Monash Asian Studies Group

21st Malaysia and Singapore Society of Australia (MASSA) Symposium 
“The Cosmopolitan Imaginings of Malaya”
Malaysia and Singapore Studies Society

Annual Research Conference
“The Death of Malaysian Literature in English” 
University of Exeter

Scholarly Dissertations
PhD Thesis
What is a Global Malaysian Novel?
The University of Melbourne

Masters Thesis
Malaysian Novels in English:
Criticism, Context, Conceptualisation
The University of Exeter

B.A. Thesis
ASEAN Foreign Policy
The University of Melbourne

Language Dissertation
Ritsumeikan University, Kyoto