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writer
AA Bastian
illustration

AGENT REPRESENTED
Luddington:Before Anna Met the King
Genre: Narrative History
Word Count: 110,700

SYNOPSIS
Luddington: Before Anna Met the King is a secular narrative history revealing secrets of British colonial Asia through the lean but incisive writings of a Mormon missionary in the 1850s—unflattering disclosures that slipped past British censors. After nearly nine years of research, writing, crossing the Pacific and Atlantic, I have grown an audience and a platform for this incredible story.

Imagine Horatio Hornblower becoming Mormon, then while on assignment in Asia, finding himself in the middle of political intrigue. Elam Luddington is a mariner at heart sent on a Mormon mission to Siam in 1852. Told to keep record of his travels, he begins a journal, but he’s not interested in tracking converts or moralizing. Influenced by dissenters within British ranks who apprise him of the unfair treatment of Asians, he inadvertently writes down the very particulars that colonial censors thought they had destroyed, and scholars assumed could not be recovered. Luddington alludes to caste in new ways, hints at blatant misinformation during the Second Anglo-Burmese war, illuminates a sense of what censors lost to history in Siam and Singapore, and portrays Hong Kong from the rare perspective of an undesirable.

Luddington himself, though, turns bitter amid his deteriorating luck after he finally reaches his mission destination of Siam. When he takes a personal feud public by publishing unsigned letters in the Singapore Straits Times, he couldn’t have known the result: a disturbance in the king of Siam’s court, paving the way for a new relationship with the British, avoiding colonization, and for Anna Leonowens to meet the King of Siam. This is the prequel to the magical and most beloved, but misleading story of Europeans in Thailand, The King and I.

In the present day, and interwoven with the journey of Luddington himself, Tosawan Malabuppha, a Thai Deaf woman, and I travel Asia researching Luddington’s story. Tosawan spent years in Utah for school and I grew up in Okinawa, Japan and Utah. Our journey to understand Euro-Asian history shifts as we learn that Luddington has a few secrets to tell.

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AUTHOR
20 years Professional Interpreting Experience – American Sign Language | English
16 Publications Specializing in European Relations with Asia and the Middle East
4 Languages – English, ASL, Mandarin, Arabic

Honors and Awards
Honorable Mention, 75th Writers Digest Annual Writing Competition, “Japanese Carp” (Memoir), 2006
Honorary Reading, Cambridge University Institute of Continuing Education, Creative Writing Summer Programme, “Through a Window” (historical scene at sea, 1853) August 2017

Significant Publications
“The Other Bayonet: A New Source to Frame the Second Anglo-Burmese War”, Journal of Burma Studies
Book Reviews, Washington Independent Review of Books
“Mormon Man Creates Controversy”, By Common Consent
“From Siamese Prison to Mormon Memory”, Juvenile Instructor, Guest Post
“Double Facebook Profile: Egyptian Women Online”, Eurasia Review

Book World Engagement
Chair, Washington Writers Conference (2019-2020)
Panel Moderator, Author Introductions, Gaithersburg Book Festival (2017- 2019)
Agent Liaison, Washington Writers Conference (2017)

Interpreting and Social Responsibility
Owner/Developer, 'Interpreting Sign: World' website (Freelance Network) interpretingsignworld.com
International Development, Encourage donations and training for international deaf community

Author Website
AABastian.com


SKILLS
Writing, Research
GENRES & SPECIALTIES
Biography, History
MOST RECENT PROJECTS
Washington Independent Review of Books Book Reviews (Various)

"The Other Bayonet: A New Source to Frame the Second Anglo-Burmese War" published in The Journal of Burmese Studies, June 2017

Publishing Credits:
Review: "Doomed Romance: Broken Hearts, Lost Souls, and Sexual Tumult in Nineteenth-Century America", Washington Independent Review of Books, Feb 2021

Review: "Kingdom of Nauvoo: The Rise and Fall of a Religious Empire on the American Frontier", Washington Independent Review of Books, Jul 2020
(Featured at LitHub)

Review: "Vigil: Hong Kong on the Brink", Washington Independent Review of Books, Feb 2020

Review: "A Savage Dreamland: Journeys in Burma", Washington Independent Review of Books, Nov 2019
(Featured at LitHub)

“The Other Bayonet: A New Source to Frame the Second Anglo-Burmese War”, The Journal of Burmese Studies, Jun 2017

Review: "No Knives in the Kitchens of this City", Washington Independent Review of Books, May 2017

Review: "White Fly”, Washington Independent Review of Books, Dec 2016

Review: "A Rare Blue Bird Flies With Me”, Washington Independent Review of Books, Nov 2016

Feature: "City of Writes”, Washington Independent Review of Books, Oct 2016

Review: "The Televangelist”, Washington Independent Review of Books, Sep 2016

Review: "The Castaway’s War”, Washington Independent Review of Books, Aug 2016

Feature: “Meet the Press: May 2016 Hoopoe specializes in stories from the Middle East and North Africa”, Washington Independent Review of Books, May 2016
(3rd Most Popular Post for May 2016)

“Mormon Man Creates Controversy”, By Common Consent September 2014

“The Broken History”, LDS Phrontistery July 2013

Guest Post: “From Siamese Prison to Mormon Memory”, Juvenile Instructor June 2013

Feature: “Double Facebook Profile: Egyptian Women Online”, Eurasia Review April 2011

“Japanese Carp”, Memoirs/Personal Essay category of the Writer’s Digest 75th Annual Writing Competition November 2006
(Honorable Mention)

“Voicing Iron Chef”, Signatures, Vol. 10 Num 2 December 2005

Feature: “Professionals Look to the Future of NIC in Utah”, Signatures, Vol. 10, Num 1 March 2005

BEST-KNOWN PROJECTS
Luddington: Before Anna Met the King. Eight years before Anna met the king of Siam, an unsigned letter to the Singapore Straits Times made waves—revealing secrets colonial censors hoped to suppress.