The Festival which will be held in George Town, Penang, from November 23-25, will host 14 writers from Scotland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Ghana/UK, India, Indonesia, Singapore, Australia and Malaysia who will engage on the theme ‘Voyages. Hopes. Dreams’.
The inaugural festival started in 2011 with five internationally recognised Malaysian writers who explored the theme ‘History and Heritage – Where Are Our Stories?’
“Encouraged by last year’s response which showed that Penang was more than ready for a festival which celebrates writers, the festival this year is three times bigger than last year.
"The theme this year is a continuation of last year’s and seeks to appreciate the many cultural diasporas in the region and beyond, and the stories that were inspired,” said Festival Curator Bernice Chauly.
Among the list of esteemed international writers attending the festival include:
David Van Reybrouck, one of Belgium’s leading political commentators and winner of several prestigious literary prizes. His book Congo - A History is one of the most celebrated books in Dutch letters in recent years.
Rana Dasgupta, winner of the 2010 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for his novel Solo. Born in England, he now lives in Delhi. His first novel Tokyo Cancelled was shortlised for the John Llewelyn Rhys Prize.
Linda Christanty, Indonesian writer, activist and journalist who has won Indonesia’s top literary award, The Khatulistiwa Award, twice in 2004 and 2010. In 2012 she was a nominee of N-Peace Awards, Role Models for Peace, an award given to champions of peace in the region.
Ng Yi-Sheng, Singaporean poet, playwright, journalist, critic and fiction writer and the youngest-ever recipient of the Singapore Literature Prize.
Among the Malaysian writers is National Laureate A. Samad Said, a reknowned writer and poet who is one of the most prolific writers in Bahasa Malaysia and recipient of several regional literary awards. Other Malaysians include Chiew-Siah Tei, Dina Zaman, Shivani Sivagurunathan and Malaysian-Australian rapper/ poet Omar Musa.
Others attending the festival are Judith Uyterlinde and Reggie Baay from the Netherlands, Nii Ayikwey Parkes from Ghana (residing in London), Andrew Greig from Scotland and Alfian Sa’at from Singapore.
One of the more interesting events in this year’s festival will be Wayang Kata VIII, a spoken word/poetry event which will feature the diversity of Penang’s many cultures through expat and local poets who will perform in English, Malay, Hokkien, Tamil, Thai and Burmese.
Music enthusiasts can look forward to a blend of reggae, blues, folk and jazz performances by Az Samad, Isaac Entry, Jerome Kugan and Mei Chern.
The moderators for this year’s festival include a stellar line-up of Malaysian writers and critics who include Rehman Rashid, Farish A Noor, Sharaad Kuttan, Sharon Bakar, Amir Muhammad, Kam Raslan, Umapagan Ampikaipakan and Jasmine Low.
The festival will feature 18 free events which include readings and panel discussions, book launches, a poetry workshop with local schoolchildren, a ‘rant’ and spoken word/poetry event and live music.
The George Town Literary Festival 2012 is supported by the Penang State Government presented by Penang Global Tourism.
More information on the George Town Literary Festival 2012 can be obtained from:
Tel: +604 264 3456