Viking Penguin editors signed two deals for first fiction by Asian writers last week, in a continuing hot market for multinational authors.

Molly Stern got North American rights to a novel and a book of stories by Malaysian-born

Tinling Choong, who is currently working toward a doctorate at Yale. The novel,

Woohoo, is about a young Chinese-American woman whose life is changed by a study of kung fu; the stories in

Firewife are about contemporary Asian women and their life experiences. The North American rights deal was made with Coast agent

Sandra Dijkstra. Meanwhile, the house's

Kathryn Court preempted a first novel by a Pakistan-born Australian,

Azhar Abidi, whose work was discovered on a recent trip Down Under by independent publisher

Robert Wyatt (formerly of Ballantine and SMP), who seeks out unpublished authors and sometimes passes them along to friend

Tom Colchie for agency representation. That was the case with Abidi's

Passarola Rising, a story about a pair of brothers showing off a hot-air balloon in 18th-century Europe; Colchie sent it to Court, who took U.S. rights; Wyatt and Colchie retain the rest of the world