I am very excited to announce the upcoming launch of my new book – Baby Zoey: Our Search for Life and Family.
10 months ago when my letter to WAAPD went viral, I was approached by Epigram to write a book on our story. I had just started blogging for about 4 months then and had no idea how much of an impact my blog was going to make. After discussion with Irene, I agreed to share our story with the world.
While I already share quite a bit on this blog, it is very different when trying to telling the story from end to end. During the writing process, I had to dig deep back into our history and doing so made me realise we did face some crazy odds but we succeeded anyway. This book covers some background about myself, my wife, how we met, how we fell in love and what happened when we tried to have a child. It’s a little bit of an unconventional love story and I am proud to say that the result is a happy family.
For everyone who keeps asking me to write a book – NAH! HERE IT IS!
I am incredibly honoured to have had a few people read the book beforehand and here is what they are saying about it:
“Baby Zoey is a story about two women falling in love and doing the most natural thing ever: having a family. But it is not one that begins in the order of love, marriage and then baby in the carriage. If only it were that simple! On the contrary, this is a journey filled with ambivalence and chaos of two determined mothers finding their calm while navigating the cultural and medical labyrinth of reproduction just to have their Zoey. Baby Zoey questions the privilege of “traditional Family values” where only certain types of children and parents are celebrated and others denigrated and penalized. It is a love story that speaks courageously of multiple desires, for each other, for Zoey and for a Singapore that would reciprocate their love.
Baby Zoey reminds us of what it should be- that families come in all shapes and forms and no one definition of Family should rule us all. It is natural to love. It is also natural to be different.
Definitely a What to Expect When You Are Expected to Not Be Expecting cheat-code for queer folks to see a future, if they so desire, beyond the ‘straight’ margins of society. ”
-Ad Maulod, PhD in Anthropology (Gender, Sexuality and Reproductive Rights)
“This book is a compelling account of the extraordinary trials and tribulations of an otherwise ordinary couple’s struggle to gain acceptance and build a family in Singapore.
There is much to learn from Olivia and Irene’s struggles and dogged determination to have and raise Baby Zoey. Love wins in the end, but we should take a good look at the Singapore we love, and ask if we’re really serious about being inclusive when we’re making it so hard for some people to start families.”
-Benjamin “Mr Miyagi” Lee
“Candid, humorous and heartwarming, Olivia Chiong has written an inspirational guide to living an authentic life and creating a family. One cannot help but be moved by her courage, creativity and persistence in challenging traditional mindsets and overcoming the odds; proving that all we need to make and be a happy family, is love.”
-Ivan Heng, Actor, Playwright and Theatre Director of W!ld Rice
“It was once said that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. This book provides the reader an authentic, heartfelt look into the lives of Irene and Olivia in their struggle for their right to family life and their inherent right to be treated as a human being by the state. Where fear and doubt surface, they found the love, they seek to understand and ultimately the strength to conquer them.
We follow their tumultuous journey in their attempts to conceive, intertwined in the at-times humorous incidents they found themselves in, the story leads you to consider the exploration of the meaning of courage and how love can be articulated between two human beings. Readers will be indignant against opponents of their same-sex partnership and celebrate along when baby Zoey is born but wonder endlessly about the adventure that is to come for the Chiong family. Not only a must-read but a must-read-finish-in-one-go book that will leave you wanting for more.
The Sayoni family is incredibly proud of Olivia and Irene in their quest to find their own truth, even if some from society disagrees and the audacity to embrace the unknown in spite of obstacles. We love you and always will.”
-Jean Chong, Co-Founder of Sayoni
“Olivia Chiong shares her story with a frankness and sincerity, clearly with the hope of making a positive change in our society. At every step, it seemed to be an uphill battle just to make a family together. “But instead of giving up, you just keep trying” is how she ends the first chapter. The rest of the book is an easy read, full of useful and interesting information, moving, insightful and at times just so funny. “Hi. I have a shipment of sperm stuck at Customs. Can you help me to find out how to get it released?” When I finished reading the book, I was reminded that in the end, it is about love. I am filled with a hope that if people read this book, then certainly, in the end, we will end discrimination, and we will “Let Love Win”
-Neo Swee Lin, Actress
“A wonderful and inspiring tale of love and family, and how they help conquer adversity.”
-Sam Ho, Co-Founder of SinQSA (Singapore Queer-Straight Alliance)
This book will be published next month and I am incredibly happy to be able to invite everyone to come to my launch party.
If you are interested to come to the launch party on Saturday, 30 April from 11 am to 1 pm, please register for a ticket below. As there are limited spaces available at the venue, please book it early. You can ensure you get a copy of the book on that day by pre-ordering a copy that you can collect on the day of the launch. I will be available to personally sign the book at the launch, so if you want a signed copy please buy a ticket that includes the book.
This is a child-friendly event, so please feel free to bring your whole family!
If you are not able to come to the launch, but still wish to buy a copy of the book, please click here to pre-order it on Epigram’s website.