Jaswal, Balli


2007-8 David T. K. Wong Fellow

Balli Jaswal was born in Singapore and grew up in Japan, Russia and the Philippines. She studied creative writing at Hollins University and George Mason University. Her short stories and poems have been published in journals in Singapore and the United States. In 2005, she returned to Singapore and began teaching literature at the Anglo-Chinese School (Independent). During the fellowship period, she worked on a novel set in Singapore between the 1970's and the present. The novel, tentatively titled, When Amrit Returns will focus on the unravelling of an Indian immigrant family when their youngest daughter goes missing.

"Since finishing the David TK Wong Fellowship in mid-2008, I moved to Singapore and worked as a journalist for a business magazine before moving to Australia in 2010. In Singapore, I had experiences which helped shape the setting of my novel but the now distance provides invaluable perspective on the lives of the characters and the story. In between novel drafts, I also wrote and published two short stories: Uncle Song in Drunken Boat and This London in Ego Magazine.

My novel was recently accepted for publication by Sleepers Publications here in Melbourne. I’m very excited about going through the process of having my first novel published - I’m still in disbelief that it is all happening! In my conversations with the editors, I have realised the importance of having somebody truly believe in the story you have written. Receiving the David TK Wong Fellowship made me feel confident that this story and its characters were worthwhile, and it was this confidence which motivated me to complete the novel."