A Writer's Reading List — Lixin Tan
Hi Lixin, tell us more about yourself!
Most people are surprised to learn that my degree and day job are completely unrelated to creative writing. While my first two titles are collections of poetry, my main interest is still fiction.
I’ve been volunteering at an animal shelter for 4.5 years and the shelter is like my second home. In 5 to 10 years’ time, I intend to open up my own animal shelter to give abused, abandoned and stray animals a sanctuary and a new chance at life.
What are you currently reading?
Finishing up We by Yevgeny Zamyatin and moving on Vermilion Sands by J.G. Ballard.
Can you recommend your best five titles to us?
The Stone Gods – Jeanette Winterson
The Passion – Jeanette Winterson
Middlesex – Jeffrey Eugenides
1984 – George Orwell
Anthem – Ayn Rand
I love dystopian literature and I’ve also always been deeply fascinated by the notion of otherness and the subjectivity of normality.
What's one quote you live by?
‘Never forget your beginner’s spirit.’ – Yoshitomo Nara; to remind myself of how much I love and enjoy writing even if I am no longer the same person years ago, and to approach the art with a free mind and without doubting myself.
Can I share a few others that are very important to me as well?
‘As an emerging artist, I am at the bottom of the food chain.’ – Ting-Tong Chang; to remind myself of how small I really am and to always remain humble.
‘For me, language is a freedom.’ – Jeanette Winterson; the very reason why I love writing.
Ultimately, what does being a poet mean to you?
I can’t tell you what it means to be a ‘poet’ because I don’t consider myself one since I still have so much to learn and improve on, but as a creative writer I think it means revealing the most vulnerable part of yourself and allowing others inside a secret world that was supposed to be yours alone. It also means being a voice to be heard, whether or not others agree with it.