Yu, Ouyang: Billy Sing

Ouyang Yu

Billy Sing, Transit Lounge, Melbourne, 2017

William “Billy” Sing was born in 1886 to an English mother and Chinese father. He and his two sisters were brought up in Clermont and Proserpine, in rural Queensland. He was one of the first to enlist in 1914 and at Gallipoli became famous for his shooting prowess.

In his new novel, Billy Sing, Ouyang Yu embodies Sing’s in a magically descriptive prose that captures both the Australian landscape and vernacular. In writing about Sing’s triumphant yet conflicted life, and the horrors of war, Yu captures with  imaginative power what it might mean to be both an outsider and a hero in one’s own country. The telling  is poetic and realist, the author’s understanding of  being a Chinese-Australian sensitively informs the narrative. (blurb)

The book is reviewed for Honest History by Christina Spittel. Honest History’s Alison Broinowski reviewed it for Fairfax, Peter Pierce for Murdoch, and Janine Rizzetti on her blog, The Resident Judge of Port Phillip. A contemporary obituary. A memorial was unveiled in 2015 in Brisbane. More on the memorial. An article from the Courier-Mail in 1993.

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