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. Issue #10, published in May 2018, is our final issue.
Issues #1 and #2 were published by Math Paper Press; issues #3–10 were 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 ceased publication with issue #10 in May 2018. We are now closed to submissions.
- 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
- “Welcome, 265 Aggregate Scorers!” by Clara Chow (L8), “Swing Past Old Pluto” by Judith Huang (L8), “Same Ghost Every Night” by Sharlene Teo (L8), “Father is the Blood, Mother is the Wine” by Victor Fernando R. Ocampo (L9), “Proclamation” by Inez Tan (L9) and “After the Thaw” by Sean Jones (L9) nominated for 2018 Pushcart Prize
- Bestseller at Gerakbudaya Bookshop for Sep 2018
- “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
- “See It Coming” by Jennifer Anne Champion (L6), “A Century of Loneliness” by Andrew Cheah (L4) and “The Tigers of Bengal” by Manish Melwani (L7) in Best New Singaporean Short Stories: Volume Three (2017)
- “The Floating Market” by Victor Fernando R. Ocampo (L10) in Bi’an: The UK Chinese Writers Network, June 2018
- “To See Infinity Inside the Pages of a Book” by Eliza Chan (L2) in Aroo Magazine, October 2018 (Tamil translation)
- “Caronang” by Eka Kurniawan (tr. Tiffany Tsao) (L6) in Literary Hub, October 2019
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)
- “Toader” by Marylyn Tan & Graeme Ford (story, L10)
- “The Filial Tiger’s Wife” by Natalie Wang (story, L10)