5 minutes with Valisa Iskandar

5 minutes with Valisa Iskandar

valisa-iskandarValisa Iskandar was born in Sabah, Borneo, Malaysia and lives in London where she runs Fixi London. In the past, she has worked as a copywriter, journalist, philosophy tutor, and branding and marketing consultant across Europe and Asia.

Twitter @fixilondon

Instagram @fixi.london


1. Tell us what you/your company does in 20 words or fewer?
Fixi London was established in May 2016 to publish urban contemporary fiction from South East Asia. Our first book Kings of Petaling Street is out early 2017.

2. Tell us the one thing about your company/business that we need to know.
We are bold. We only publish works that excite us and we like fresh, unapologetic voices. The two crime thriller we are releasing next year is about the inner workings of gangsters and crime committed in a multicultural Malaysia, which is completely different from other crime scenes or gangs in other parts of the world that are more homologous. We are also publishing two very exciting translated works of fiction. One for our Spring Catalogue is a Muslim Erotica written by a 22 year old Muslim girl in hijab (hijabster), which is despite being number one in the Erotica section in Malaysia is not widely distributed.
The other is a novel by my favourite Indonesian writer, which features a fat protagonist – what I call the Bridget Jones of Jakarta. This will be part of our Autumn catalogue.We are also releasing an anthology of short stories by a Malaysian writer in Europe who was long listed for the Orange Prize.

3. What do you like about your job?
That it is a combination of creative and business intelligence. I love discovering new voices and talking to those who are idealistic, creative and passionate about what they do.

4. What is the single biggest challenge facing the publishing industry right now?
As a newcomer to the British publishing scene, I must say we feel very welcomed in London. I met so many wonderful, warm and accessible people who share their experiences and very forthcoming with their knowledge and experiences and time. The main hurdle for us so far is getting a good distributor who will work with independent publishers and authors. Having said that we have been incredibly lucky to have worked with fantastic independent bookstores and book chains like Daunt and Forbidden Planet.

5. Name your favourite app and why.
Instagram. It lets you see the world through someone’s eyes and it is revealing and breathtaking.

6. Go on, let us know your musical guilty pleasure.
I won’t call it a guilty pleasure but my idol is Madonna.

7. And your one from the world of fiction?
Jackie Collins. I love Lucky Santaangelo.

8. Which is your favourite bookshop  – and why?
Daunt Bookstores. They are traditional booksellers who are open to independent authors and publishers and who would give you time and space to showcase your work and would share them with their readers if they like it. Daunt doesn’t do sales or any kind of promotions and you can trust that every book that they put on their Staff Picks are what they genuinely like and champion. That’s also why we launched our books in April 2016, ahead of The London Book Fair, at Daunt Books Cheapside. Matt and Richard are wonderful and so is Rose Cole of Daunt Books Maryleborne.

9. What was the last book you read?
I am currently judging Buku Fixi Feminist theme novel writing contest so the last book I read was a manuscript on Feminism.

10. Which writer would you have loved to have met – and why?
Milan Kundera because he intellectualises the most banal things, pokes fun at the most serious things and finds poetry in the human condition.

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