Last month, BooksActually x Math Paper Press introduced us to the work of two young poets, Cheryl Julie Lee and Michelle Tan. On the occasion of their book launch, BooksActually’s Marketing whiz, Angelin Chua, quizzed the young authors on our behalf.
Here is Angelin in conversation with Cheryl Julie Lee, author of ‘We Were Always Eating Expired Things‘. Cheryl is a postgraduate at Trinity College Dublin and a member of the Burn After Reading (Singapore) collective. Her work has appeared in QLRS, The Adroit Journal, and Prick of the Spindle among others.
If you have to choose a country that you think represents your character, what would it be?
Singapore. I am all about efficiency and paperwork. Also food; 90% of my thoughts revolve around food.
Is there one person that you look up to and aspire to become?
I don’t know about ‘aspiring to become’ because for me, just ‘being’ is tough enough but there are a ton of people whom I want to have long conversations with, who I’d go to for advice if I could: Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Pooja Nansi, Steve Carrell, Jessica Bellamy, Lorelai Gilmore. Basically anyone who lives his/her life with grace and a sense of humor.
What are your hopes for your first collection of poetry?
I’d be happy if the collection – to borrow my friend’s words – made someone somewhere feel something.
In less than 100 words, tell us what this collection of poetry is about.
We Were Always Eating Expired Things is about human connection, the way I see it anyway. Our inherent desire to establish intimacy and our inevitable failure to do so. But also, I hope, a celebration of our persistence in trying anyway.
Imagine this, one day you walked into a mirror and realized that you had just walked into a parallel universe. What kind of person do you think you will be in that parallel universe, and what would you do with that identity?
I’d be a banker and the worst sort around. I wish I could say I donate half of my ginormous salary to charities but I’d probably just eat a lot of expensive steak and chocolates, and then pay people to massage the fat off me.
Our buddies at BooksActually are giving away 2 copies of Cheryl Julie Lee’s book each topped up with a copy of Cyril’s Wong “Unmarked Treasure“. Want a set? Email firstname.lastname@example.org with “I’m a BooksActually spoiled brat!” in the subject line. The first 2 readers to comply with these instructions, can pick up their bundle from the BooksActually shop (No. 9 Yong Siak Street, Tiong Bahru). The contest is open to Singapore based readers only! Contest is closed. More luck next time!