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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.
“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.
Our contributors have won major literary awards in Singapore, USA, UK, Taiwan, Japan and the Philippines, and include notable authors such as Dean Francis Alfar, Paolo Bacigalupi, John Burdett, Zen Cho, Sabrina Huang, Eka Kurniawan, Amanda Lee Koe, Ken Liu, E.C. Myers, Ng Yi-Sheng, Victor Fernando R. Ocampo, Geoff Ryman, Christina Sng, Cyril Wong, Bryan Thao Worra, and J.Y. Yang.