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Sussy Komala to Receive Distinguished Alumna Award

PLATTSBURGH, NY __ Xu Xi, a.k.a. Sussy Komala, will receive the Distinguished Alumna Award during Spring Commencement at the State University of New York College at Plattsburgh on Saturday, May 15. Komala graduated from Plattsburgh State in 1974 with a degree in English.

Sussy Komala Her business career began in Hong Kong shortly after graduating from Plattsburgh State. Over the next six-and-a-half years, she moved from printing supervision to advertising copywriting. She ended up as the advertising supervisor for Cathay Pacific Airways until mid 1980.

After a hiatus of writing and graduate work (she received her MFA from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst), Komala commenced a business career in the United States.

Komala left an 18-year career in international marketing and management in 1997 to become a full-time writer. She alternates between living in New York City and Hong Kong.

A Chinese-Indonesian native of Hong Kong, Komala is now one of Asia's leading English language novelists. An author of five books of fiction, she also co-edited an anthology of Hong Kong writings in English. Other published writings include essays, op-eds and book reviews. Her work is taught and anthologized internationally.

In profiles of the author, the New York Times "Arts Abroad" named her a pioneer writer in Asia establishing a voice in English, and Singapore's Business Times dubbed her passion "Asia as it is today -- gritty, modern and confused."

In 1994, her first novel, Chinese Walls (Chameleon Press), was hailed as a "welcome new voice into the field of Asian fiction writing."

Her forthcoming book, Overleaf Hong Kong: Stories and Essays of the Chinese, Overseas (Chameleon Press), is due out this summer.

Her awards have included a New York Foundation for the Arts fiction fellowship, a writer-in-residency at Kulturhuset USF at Bergen, Norway and the Jack Kerouac Project in Orlando, Fla.

She currently teaches in Vermont College's MFA program. She leads fiction writing workshops and classes on an ad hoc basis at The Writer's Circle in Hong Kong, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong Institute of Education among others.

The Distinguished Alumni Award, presented by the College and the Board of Directors of the Plattsburgh Alumni Association, honors graduates for their achievements, their humanitarian efforts, and/or their contributions to the College.


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