Sharlene Teo on Shirley Jackson, Moby Dick, and Hating Pride and Prejudice

Welcome to the Book Marks Questionnaire, where we ask authors questions about the books that have shaped them.

This week, we spoke to Ponti author Sharlene Teo.

Book Marks: First book you remember loving?  

Sharlene Teo: The Hundredth Dove and Other Tales by Jane Yolen—it had these beautiful charcoal drawings and the stories within were haunting and melancholic in a way I’d never encountered before. That’s the wonderful thing about a childhood book- I remember studying the illustrations for hours, fully absorbed in the emotional realities within its pages.

BM: Favorite re-read?

ST: Love in the Time of Cholera, Light Years, Lolita, Madame Bovary. 

BM: What book do you think your book is most in conversation with?  

ST: We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jacksongets mentioned in Ponti—because Shirley Jackson is such an influence and inspiration to me and both books centre female teenage misanthropy.

BM: A book that blew your mind? 

ST: Beloved by Toni Morrison—before I read it, I didn’t know a novel could be so horrific and humane, fantastical yet grounded in deep and present pain.


Click here to read more on the Book Marks website.