Carmarthen Chinese takeaway owner lands £ 10,000 book publishing deal

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A Chinese takeaway owner in West Wales has won a book publishing contract worth £ 10,000.

Julie Ma from Carmarthen won the Richard and Judy “Search for a Bestseller” competition for her book “Happy Families”.

The novel tells the story of three generations of a Chinese immigrant family living and working in their take-out restaurant in Wales.

Past winners of the competition have enjoyed success and high book sales.

The idea arose when Julie decided to tackle the stereotypical view of Chinese-British women she had seen on television, in movies and in books.

Julie’s early love for reading and writing came from the support of elementary teachers and visits to the local library and bookstore.

“I would like everyone to read my book but especially anyone who has ever been to a store and thought about the other life of the person who serves them.

“Everyone has something more going for them than being the woman behind the counter in Next or the cashier in Aldi. Or even the girl who serves you a Chinese takeout! Julie said.

Julie always had the desire to write and despite fears that her writing was not interesting enough, she set out to write a story that she recognized.

Julie Ma told ITV Wales: “People have an idea of ​​what it is to be Chinese or what it is to be Welsh or what it is to be British and I think that you can be all three of these things at the same time, which perhaps has not been reflected before [in the media]. “

Julie’s grandfather arrived in Wales in the 1930s from China, where her family first ran a Chinese laundry business. Her parents opened a Chinese take-out restaurant in the 1970s.

After graduating from the University of Aberystwyth with a drama degree during the recession in the late 2000s, Julie worked in an eclectic mix of jobs, trying to find her “niche” before taking over the family. business on the death of both parents.

“Happy Families” is a family comedy about the life of three generations of an immigrant family.

While working behind the counter, Julie used take out as a rich resource; getting to know her clients has allowed her to uncover dozens of stories. She replaced the high drama in her writing with everyday drama and decided that writing could be her “niche”.

Despite early success as an Orange Short Story Award finalist, early versions of “Happy Families” were sent to publishers for rejection.

Refusing to give in to rejection and following his instincts, “Happy Families” will be published by Welbeck Publishing on February 18, 2021.


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