Tuesday, December 06, 2011

George Town Literary Festival 2011

So it seems my love affair with China House has yet to end as I found myself there again 2 Sundays in a row. Where prior visits were mostly for meals with friends, the latest was actually a first such event that I'd ever attended in my life - a meetup with authors in conjunction with the George Town Literary Festival 2011.

Call it fate or coincidence, the reason I decided to attend in the first place was because it featured Tan Twan Eng, the author of "The Gift of Rain", a book I was eagerly reading (and had since completed) then and I was actually excited to attend a reading cum discussion session to hear what the author had to say. Plus I kinda had a few questions lingering in my mind, one particularly being "Is the island, the island I think it is??"

Not wanting to jump straight to the end but I did ended up buying 2 books by the other 2 authors who were also present that day, hah not so sure if such events are good for my pockets..

Autographed by the author himself  :)
Anyway, the event was held upstairs at the Kopi Cine side of the building (facing Victoria Street), away from the hustle bustle of the very-familiar-by-now China House, and of which was quite a breath of fresh air to be honest. To add in to our delights, coffee/tea and cakes were complimentary i.e no worries about what to eat for breakfast. It wasn't a full house event but the crowd that day was a pretty decent number with a well mixture of the young and the old, locals and foreigners, as well as guys and gals. "Penangites, expatriates and tourists alike do read local books, how nice!" was my thought ☺

Tan Twan Eng was clearly the main draw, seeing that there was even a "An Evening with Tan Twan Eng" dinner/reading/conversation hosted at the E&O Hotel (and which cost RM50/pax) the night before but the other 2 authors, Iskandar Al-Bakri and Shih-Li Kow, had charming tales to tell as well. How could a tale of conspiracy, sorcery and black magic not be appealing, right? What more, Iskandar even had "props" to share with the audience; a "kayu hujan panas" which he claimed if used to hit a person, he/she will gradually go crazy. Bizarre? Curious to know more? Right, buy that book!

The authors each took turns to read excerpts from their books followed by a series of questions from the audience before the floor was opened for Q&A directed to individual authors or together as a whole. An interesting experience I must say and it exposed me to different genres, perceptions and views. For example, did you know that The Gift of Rain was written entirely in Cape Town, South Africa even though the story takes place right here in the Pearl of the Orient, almost a quarter of the earth away? And that it took 4 rewrites before he was satisfied with the final copy? Did you know that Shih-Li Kow is only a part-time writer and actually works at a shopping mall (to pay the bills she said) in Kuala Lumpur?

Overall, I am glad that a Literary Festival was held in Penang and I look forward to attending such events in the future. That is coming from a certified bookworm who is hoping for more bookworms to be nurtured.

Oh, and if you were wondering if I managed to ask that question....well, it was asked but not by yours truly. A lady said she was dying to know where the island was and was the island that island where her balcony at The Cove overlooked? Unfortunately, Mr Tan only gave a cryptic answer and insisted the island was whichever island you wanted it to be...

My take on that?

I'll cover it when I review the book in a coming post *winks

0 tots:

Post a Comment