Nina Mingya Powles first learned to swim in Borneo – where her mother was born and her grandfather studied freshwater fish. There, the local swimming pool became her first body of water. Through her life there have been others that have meant different things, but have still been, in their own way, home: from the wild coastline of New Zealand to a pond in northwest London.
Small Bodies of Water is her lyrical collection of interconnected essays which explore the bodies of water that separate and connect us, as well as everything from migration, food, family, earthquakes and the ancient lunisolar calendar to butterflies. It’s a hybrid form, part-memoir and part-nature writing, which weaves together memories, dreams, and observations on belonging all in gentle prose.
Powles’ previous work includes Forward Prize-nominated Magnolia, 木蘭, the food memoir Tiny Moons: A Year of Eating in Shanghai, and Bitter Melon 苦瓜, a small press she founded to publish poetry by Asian diaspora writers.