LONTAR is the world’s only biannual literary journal focusing on Southeast Asian speculative fiction. The journal was founded in 2012, in order to spread awareness of this literature to readers who might not normally be exposed to it, and to celebrate its existence and diversity within the region.
Issues #1 and #2 were published by Math Paper Press; issues #3 and onward are published by Epigram Books. Our contributors have won major literary awards in Singapore, USA, UK, Taiwan, Japan and the Philippines.
“Lontar” is the Indonesian word for a bound palm-leaf manuscript, which is among the oldest forms of written media, dating as far back as the fifth century BCE (and possibly earlier). They were used to record Buddhist sutras, law texts, epic mythic narratives, and treatises on a host of subjects such as astronomy, astrology, architecture, law, medicine and music. As such, this ancient form of writing is the perfect symbol for the curation of Southeast Asian speculative fiction: it is an early technology that revolutionised the dissemination of knowledge (it no longer had to be handed down exclusively in oral form), and it was used predominantly in India, Thailand, Indonesia, Cambodia and Laos.
LONTAR has a Patreon page! You can now directly support the efforts of the journal, and there are tiers of rewards depending on how much you pledge. We are aiming to become completely self-sufficient, and you can be part of this exciting venture. Become a LONTAR patron today!
LONTAR is open to unsolicited submissions on a rolling basis.
The editors of LONTAR are looking for quality literary writing with elements of the fantastic, which is in some way connected with the cultures, traditions, mythologies, folk religions, and/or daily life in Southeast Asia. While we are happy to look at works by writers outside of the region, we want to actively encourage Southeast Asian writers to submit your work. Please do not send submissions for consideration via email, as they will be deleted unread.
It’s a good idea to read an issue or two of LONTAR before submitting to see exactly the type of writing we are looking for. Full guidelines can be found at the link below.
- Bestseller at Weightless Books for Feb/March 2014, May 2014, June 2014 and May 2016
- “The Spurned Bride’s Tears, Centuries Old, in the Rain” by Gord Sellar (L5), “No Other City” (L4) and “No Man Is” (L5) by Ng Yi-Sheng, and “Siren” by Amanda Lee Koe (L5) chosen for Tangent Online 2015 Recommended Reading List
- “The Woman in the Coffee Shop” by Christina Sng (L5) nominated for 2016 Rhysling Award (Long Poem)
- “Apocalypse” by Tania De Rozario (L5) nominated for 2016 Dwarf Stars Award
- “Caronang” by Eka Kurniawan (trans. Tiffany Tsao) (L6), “Baptism” by Sokunthary Svay (L6), “The Boy, the Swordfish, the Bleeding Island” by Ng Yi-Sheng (L6), “Blind Date” by Melissa De Silva (L7), “The organisation sends a suicide bomber with their best regards” by Subashini Navaratnam (L7), and “The Tigers of Bengal” by Manish Melwani (L7) nominated for 2017 Pushcart Prize
- “Setting Up Home” by Sabrina Huang (trans. Jeremy Tiang) (L3) in The Apex Book of World SF 4 (2015)
- “No Other City” by Ng Yi-Sheng (L4) in Mithila Review no. 5/6, August 2016
- “No Man Is” by Ng Yi-Sheng (L5) in Columbia Journal, November 2016
LONTAR is proud to have published a number of first works by the following contributors:
- “The Immortal Pharmacist” by Ang Si Min (poem, L1)
- “See It Coming” by Jennifer Anne Champion (story, L6)
- “I See Clouds” by Russ Hoe (poem, L6)
- “The Tigers of Bengal” by Manish Melwani (story, L7)
- “Superstations” by Wilfred Cabrera (story, L8)