Ministerium für öffentliche Erregung

Amanda Lee Koe | Zoë Beck

“Sie sagte, sie schriebe eine Arbeit über mich als Symbolfigur für die letzten Spuren des Empfindens eines Stolzes für eine schwindende Kolonialmacht. Ich erinnere mich deshalb genau genug daran, um es Wort für Wort aufzuschreiben, weil ich sie drei Mal bat, es zu wiederholen – es waren so viele schwere Wörter, und sie sagte sie jedes Mal in einem Atemzug.”

Ministerium für öffentliche Erregung

Jury comments

In brief, fast-paced language, Koe tells of possible and impossible forms of love in ultramodern Singapore, where people of multiple religions, ethnicities, social classes and educational levels, such as housemaids from the country, witches, art curators, film stars, transsexuals, etc., meet. The author deftly alternates between different narrators, weaves in myths and fairy tales and thus offers insights into the cosmos of a city that is rapidly developing and therefore constantly questioning forms of social contact. The translation by Zoë Beck skillfully traces the precise language and the changing perspectives. — Sabine Scholl

Amanda Lee Koe, Photo: Kirsten Tan

Author: Amanda Lee Koe

Amanda Lee Koe, born in Singapore in 1987, is a writer, poet and editor of her own literary journal called Ceriph. She lives in Singapore and New York and works as a literary editor for Esquire (Singapore). Koe also is engaged with various possibilities and forms of curatorial work and independent publishing. In 2013, she was honorary fellow of the Iowa International Writing Program. Ministry of Moral Panic was on the longlist for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award in 2014 and was voted one of the top 10 English books from Singapore in the last 50 years by the Business Times. Works by Amanda Lee Koe have been published in magazines in Hong Kong, the United States and Germany.

Most recent publication in English:

  • Ministry of Moral Panic, Epigram Books 2013

Author’s website:

Zoë Beck, Photo: Victoria Tomaschko

Translator: Zoë Beck

Zoë Beck, born in 1975, studied piano and literature and worked for the theater, film and television. Today she is an author and translator, operates the literary publishing house CulturBooks together with Jan Karsten and works as an over-dubbing director. In 2010, she received the Friedrich Glauser Prize for the Best Short Crime Story, in 2014 the Radio Bremen Crime Prize for Brixton Hill, and in 2016 the German Crime Prize for Schwarzblende. Most recently, Zoë Beck translated books by Amanda Lee Koe, Pippa Goldschmidt and James Grady.

Most recent publication:

  • Die Lieferantin, Suhrkamp 2017

Translator’s website: