The Auditory Cortex Special Feature (June 2019)

We are very excited to announce that, for the first time, Cha: An Asian Literary Journal will be publishing a special feature devoted entirely to Asian voices. The feature, to be published in June 2019, is entitled “Auditory Cortex”, and it celebrates the varied voices across Englishes. We welcome submissions from poets who write in a ‘variety’ of Englishes.

Each poet can submit up to TWO poems on any theme (no more than 40 lines long each, to be accompanied by a recording of the author’s reading in WAV format).

NOTE: Poems must be written and read in the author’s local variety of English (e.g. Brunei English, Burmese English, Chinese English, Fijian English, Filipino English, Guamanian English, Hawaiian English, Hong Kong English, Japanese English, Kazakh English, Malaysian English, Samoan English, Singapore English, Sri Lankan English, Thai English, Tok Pisin, Tongan English, Vietnamese English, etc.) in a way that is also accessible to other speakers of English in Asia.

We hope to have separate sections for each variety of English so that all parts of Asia would be well represented. Send us your work, and help us show the world the expressiveness of the Englishes of Asia.

Poems must be previously unpublished.

Professor of Linguistics and Cha contributor Lian-Hee Wee on “Auditory Cortex”: ‘The Auditory Cortex is the first point in the brain that processes sound information, and channels it to other parts of the brain depending how it interprets the sounds. Sounds interpreted as linguistic would trigger some areas whereas sounds interpreted as musical might be others. Naturally, this is also where poems are first processed.’


Poet and Cha contributor Alvin Pang on “Auditory Cortex”: ‘[T]he point […] is to celebrate varieties of Englishes in Asia that have often been downplayed, dismissed, denigrated, discriminated against or otherwise neglected in the anglophone world (the official distaste towards Singlish in Singapore is a good example). It would, in that sense, be less useful to highlight varieties of English that are already well acknowledged in the global anglophone mainstream. […] If we’re talking about new inflections of established variants, these would indeed be interesting and relevant to document.’


  • Submissions of no more than TWO poems (each no more than 40 lines) should be sent to with the subject line “Auditory Cortex 2019”.
  • Poems must be sent in the body of the email with the recording in a WAV file attachment using the author’s family name as the filename (i.e. LASTNAME.wav, e.g. Ho.wav or Wee.wav).
  • The recording should contain only the author’s voice (NO sound effects or music) and should be made in a sound attended room or a venue of adequate quiet to ensure audibility.
  • Please include a short biography that outlines your language background in no more than 30 words.
  • Closing date: 28 February 2019


Lian-Hee Wee and Tammy Ho.jpg

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