If you told me a year ago that I’d have a self-penned piece published in The Guardian, I would have choked on my tea and asked what you were on…but here it is!
It’s basically a two page synopsis about my novel/memoir Chinglish, fully adorned with embarrassing childhood photos and dotted with some madcap illustrations from the book.
I had so many messages from readers after this was published, telling me how funny it was and how it made their day. I’m chuffed about that because I’ve always wanted to write comedy successfully and I think I’ve achieved that. But I also had some sad responses telling me about the trauma they also suffered as an 80s Chinese takeaway kid.
I’m humbled that Chinglish has touched so many people in different ways, something I never expected, on this scale at least. And I hope it carries on helping people talk about their stories.
‘Chinglish’ isn’t just a humorous take on teen angst, it’s about identity, belonging and seeing beyond race and colour. It’s also about hopes, dreams and survival of spirit no matter how battered you get!
If you’d like to hear more in depth about the book and the cathartic process of writing, then click here for a 30 min podcastwhere I’m being interviewed by Nikki Gamble of Just Imagine, a consultancy that works extensively with schools in the UK and internationally to develop outstanding reading and writing.
I’ve been sent so many pics of Chinglish from all over the world that I thought they deserved to be compiled and displayed. What I can’t get over is that I never asked for these. People have just been thoughtful enough to put aside a few minutes of their day, compose a picture and then send it to me via social media. These people are the kind who always find time to share and put smiles on faces, not just in this instance but in every situation in life. I am SO thankful for them – the world needs MORE of these good souls!
I still can’t believe how I managed to get to talk live on air to the entire nation about my humble debut novel Chinglish! I’m SO proud and TRULY grateful to all the fantastic people along the way who helped to make it happen.
Anyway, just so I can prove to myself in years to come that I hadn’t dreamt it, and for posterity, I’ve collected all the audios and video together here in one place. Click below to view/listen and learn more about how Chinglish came to be:
A lot of people have asked if ‘Tina’, my best friend from the 1980s that I wrote about in Chinglish, is real. Answer: YES! And here she is 30+ years on! She’s stlll a bezzie and still wears ‘The Cure’ tops and she runs a fine art printing workshop in Hampshire now – see why I thought she was so cool? Goth Gaz her boyfriend wasn’t real though. He was based on another lad I knew from school who I wish I’d known because he was so mysterious.
I had no idea that when I finished Chinglish, the publicity would be so HUGE! Having zero experience of live media I was chucked in at the deep end but enjoyed every second of it. Everyone at the BBC was lovely and welcoming so I felt really at ease…plus I guess it helps that I’m the chatty type!
First up was Vic Minett at Radio Coventry which is where Chinglish is based so it was fun reminiscing about what the area was like 35 years ago! Next was Jo Good at Radio London who was so enthused about Chinglish as she was friends with Louise Rennison and very much into this genre – brilliant! The big one was Radio 4 Woman’s Hour. I love this programme and have listened to it on and off for years, plus Jane Garvey is an absolute legend and hero of mine! I also recorded a separate podcast with her afterwards, about my life after Chinglish.
On launch day I visited the biggest bookshop in the UK, Waterstones in Piccadilly London, to sign some stock. I was proud as punch to see Chinglish on the table in the YA section. For so long I’ve admired the books that appear on these prestige displays, and now I’m on them!
Lastly I travelled to Salford Media City for my BBC Breakfast TV appearance. This was the one I was most nervous about because now everyone would be able to see me! I didn’t get much sleep the night before as you can imagine, but I needn’t have worried as again all the staff and presenters were awesome!
Right now I’m cuddling my cats and having a rest trying to let it all sink in, but people keep sending me messages including, I’ve just learned, that Chinglish has sold out on Amazon UK! I can’t believe the response my book has been getting. It’s been such an amazing experience and my gratitude goes out to everyone who has supported me along the way: my agent, editor, all the team at Andersen Press, friends, family and strangers who have all been so kind and encouraging – THANK YOU!!!!
I was asked to write a piece about the time I was pregnant and homeless. Writing pre that era in Chinglish was hard enough! But I’ve never revisited the time I was up the duff and living in a squat very often since it happened 28 years ago.
It was hard recalling all the details, including the time I had to scrabble around in gutters for pennies, but I saw how my story could inspire and show others that they have the power to change the course of their lives. I enjoyed doing the illustration though, as it does a good job getting the tragi-comic feel across!
I’ve only gone and been invited by the BBC to talk about Chinglish! Little did I know that when I started writing this book, the public would be so interested in my loony life. Yes, I was expecting to do some promotion around my debut novel but the BBC? Wow, well that’s a pretty big deal. Messages around diversity are growing and I’m proud to be riding the wave. A MASSIVE thanks to everybody that made this possible after so many years of hard work and collaboration.
If you’d like to see and/or hear Sue Cheung talk about Chinglish on the BBC in September *DATES WILL BE POSTED HERE SOON*
Chinglish is out on 5th Setember 2019 and can be pre-ordered at Amazon.
What a treat to come home to – a box of my new debut novels waiting in a box with their funky looking spot varnished covers! Chinglish isn’t officially released until 5th September, but the build-up is well under way.
Right now I’m busy doing talks, writing articles and being very excited to see the responses from bloggers and reviewers who have received pre-sale copies. I’m also looking forward to even more interaction with the public as the book reveals itself to the world!
It’s the last week of my 3 month sabbatical (sob) and it’s been everything I’d dreamed of. Each of the four places I stayed at in Bali were unique in their own way, but the standout for me has got to be Nusa Lembongan island. I scuba dived there twice a day for a week and the sea life was some of the most abundant I’ve seen in ages, like being in a snow globe of glitter on some sites!
Bali is predominantly Hindu and has the gentlest, most peaceful people I’ve ever met. This attracts other like-minded folk, so you were always surrounded by smiles. Yoga is popular there, so it was fun trying out all the different types. A major win was that I got taught how to headstand properly, now I’m addicted to them!
Corfu has been home for the last month – different island, just as sunny. And the people and food are fantastic here too. I wanted a Durrellesque experience: mingling with locals, buying fresh bread and olives from the market, reading, painting and immersing myself in nature – the sea is crystal clear so I’ve been swimming almost every day.
Back to reality soon and I’ve got a to-do list ready, mostly promotional stuff in preparation for the release of my debut YA book ‘Chinglish’, in September. In the meantime, I’m getting as much sun and sea in the bank as possible (I’ve heard it’s been chucking it down back in the UK so I think I’ll be needing it!).