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Shirley Le releases debut novel

12 April 2023

Shirley Le releases debut novel

The glowling conclusion to the 2018 Affirm Press Mentorship for Sweatshop Writers is Shirley Le's debut novel, Funny Etnics. Shirley said this novel had been a goal of hers for "about a decade", and she is thrilled it has slowly come to fruition.

Funny Ethnics ironically catapults readers into the sprawling city-within-a-city that is Western Sydney and the world of Sylvia Nguyen: only child of Vietnamese refugee parents, unexceptional student, exceptional self-doubter. It’s a place where migrants from across the world converge, and identity is a slippery, ever-shifting beast. Jumping through snapshots of Sylvia’s life – from childhood to something resembling adulthood – this novel is about square pegs and round holes, those who belong and those on the fringes. It’s a funhouse mirror held up to modern Australia revealing suburban fortune tellers, train-carriage preachers, crumbling friendships and bad stand-up comedy. Shirley uses a coming-of-age tale to reveal a side of Australia so ordinary that it’s entirely bizarre.

Funny Etnnics was shorlisted for the 2023 Age Book of the Year Award and has already sold hundreds of copies. Buy the book here.

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