Tash Aw

Photographer: Ian Teh

I came to London after finishing my university studies. Having grown up in Asian cities, I found London very green and calm and ordered. I loved the anonymity, the fact that no one bothers you as you go about your business.

Being a Londoner means being able speak English with an accent, without other people raising their eyebrows or questioning your right to live here. The experience of having my portrait taken made me think of the process of immigration – how people behave in order to adapt in a new country, how they dress and what image they like to portray.

It made me think of my ancestors and journeys they made, what they tried to achieve and how they wanted to be remembered by their descendants. It was a surprisingly moving experience.

The location is a house of light and shadows, not far from where I live, in the East End. I come here to be with friends – we chat and drink tea and exchange ideas about work. As a novelist I can work anywhere in the world, and though I often find myself writing in far-flung places, it's always to London that I return, to renew and re-anchor myself.                  

by Tash Aw

Ian Teh, photographer