Guest of Honor

Photo: Darren Johnson/​IDJ Photography

We asked Aliette de Bodard to say something about our Guest of Honor and this is what she wrote:

Zen Cho is a Malaysian writer of science fiction and fantasy who makes her home in London. Her quirky, funny and poignant fiction pieces have — deservedly — raised her to prominence: her collection Spirits Abroad won the Crawford Award, and her short stories in various markets garnered much critical acclaim. Her début novel, Sorcerer to the Crown is at once a love letter and a pointed skewering of Regency romances — with Malaysian supernatural creatures, English fairies, sorcerers and dragons; a hilarious mash-up of Georgette Heyer and Susannah Clarke’s Jonathan Strange and Mister Norrell.

I’ve known Zen for a while: she is charming and delightful and smart, and I’m sure she’ll make a wonderful Guest of Honor at Åcon.”

Besides Sorcerer to the Crown, Zen has also edited a cyberpunk anthology called Cyberpunk: Malaysia (Buku Fixi, 2015). She won the Crawford Award with her short story collection Spirits Abroad (Buku Fixi, 2014) and been nominated for several other awards, including the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. The stories in this collection deal with different aspects of Malaysian culture and folklore, whereas the setting may be Malaysia, London or something completely different.

Her historical novella The Perilous Life of Jade Yeo may not be genre-related, but it is a delightfully witty and funny epistolary tale of a young Asian woman living in 1920s Europe, notably London and Paris. There’s more than a whiff of Wodehouse and Heyer in this story.