5 Books To Read for George Town Literary Festival
Posted on 11 July 2013
Website : George Town Literary Festival
Date : 29 Nov – 1 Dec 2013
At the end of 2013, the annual George Town Literary Festival will come about. The theme of this year’s festival is The Ties that Bind, which will look at how writers deal with writing and hope, love, land, loss, memory and history.
In this list, we are not here to tell you which books are the best. However, to best engage with the authors who will be a part of the festival, you do need to know what their work is about. Here’s a list of five books for your GTLF bucket list:
Stranger in the Forest
by Eric Hansen
Eric Hansen is the first Westerner to trek 4,000km across the Borneo and write about it. Travelling with the Penan can be challenging, and this man did that for over half a year. So for all the self-proclaimed “traveller, not a tourist” people out there, Eric Hansen is the author for you. Interested? His book is listed as available in Kinokuniya.
Map of the Invisible World
by Tash Aw
Let’s face it: the detractors of Tash’s first book, The Harmony Silk Factory, were brutal. Who knew how attached Malaysians were to facts about geography until Tash wielded his artistic license over them? Kampar and Cameron Highlands, down the road from each other? Pandering to omputeh, pengkhianat!
Tash’s second novel, Map of the Invisible World, is predominantly set in Indonesia. Perhaps Tash can do better writing about this region without having to worry about the scrutiny of defensive Malaysians.
Little Hut of Leaping Fishes
by Chiew-Siah Tei
Not all Malaysian writers tell stories of Malaysia (nor should they be expected to). Enter bilingual author Chiew-Siah Tei, whose historical saga begins in Little Plum Blossom Village, during the late 1800s of China .
Chiew-Siah Tei also has two other books — It’s Snowing (prose) and Secrets and Lies (essays on film), for the Chinese-literate amongst us.
Evening Is the Whole Day
by Preeta Samarasan
Preeta Samarasan’s writing has been compared to Arundhati Roy, for obvious reasons. This is how her novel begins:
There is, stretching delicate as a bird’s head from the thin neck of the Kra Isthmus, a land that makes up half of the country called Malaysia. Where it dips its beak into the South China Sea, Singapore hovers like a bubble escaped from its throat. This bird’s head is a springless summerless autumnless winterless land.
When an author goes all out into purple prose territory this way, you get a love-it-or-hate-it audience. Which camp are you on? Either way, you have about five more months to make up your mind.
The House with a Thousand Stories
by Aruni Kashyap
This book was published fairly recently, and is doing quite well in reviews, also drawing inevitable comparisons to Arundhati Roy’s work.
The Kampung Boy
Datuk Mohammad Nor Khalid, better known as Lat, will be one of the creators speaking at GTLF. The Kampung Boy is the most well-known of his stories, but Datuk Lat’s ouevre is generally loved.
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