Esca Brooke Daykin: The Rajah's Son

Towards the end of summer in 2016, the playwright Dave Carley contacted me. He had stumbled upon my short story 'The Rajah's Wife' at New Asian Writing, and he enjoyed it. He had his own White Rajahs-related project too: In this case it was a play he was working on.

Canadian Rajah, set to be released this year, takes place in the context of a disastrous fictionalised meeting between the unrecognised son of Rajah Charles Brooke and his wife, the mercurial Ranee Ghita, whose private and commercial interests in her husband's kingdom of Sarawak led her to effectively write him out of history.

A few months later, the result of our correspondence is my new Ricepaper magazine article, The Rajah's Son. It explores not just the story of Esca's life in Toronto as he came to terms with his own heritage, but also the process of writing and adapting fact to fiction. A follow-up details an interview with Dave and features an exclusive excerpt from his play, which is set for a reading at Warkworth, Ontario, at the end of January.

Happy reading!

*I am indebted to the excellent White Rajahs by Cassandra Pybus for giving me wonderful background information about the kingdom of Sarawak, and insights into Esca's life. Photograph courtesy of Joan Brown and Shirley Cooke.