BookFest@Malaysia 2017: Make a date with these writers

  • Books
  • Friday, 16 Jun 2017

Yes, that is Lee, ‘appearing’ at a previous BookFest We dare you to ask him why he covers up....

In a week or so, Malaysian book lovers will be treated to BookFest @Malaysia, the largest book exposition in the country. Organised by Popular Bookstores (M) Sdn Bhd for more than a decade now, the fair has become synonymous with a huge range of books in English, Malay, and Chinese as well as a plethora of stationery and gadgets being offered at bargain prices.

But it is not only book enthusiasts and discount hunters who will be at BookFest@Malaysia 2017: over 30 prominent Malaysian and international authors will also be making appearances at the event.

They will be having sessions at The Stage in Hall 5 of the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre to discuss their books and give fans an invaluable opportunity to meet them, pick up advice from them, or get books signed.

The authors range from professional fiction authors to nonfiction writers at the top of their field – whether its horror stories or home-buying you’re interested in, there’s an author session for you at BookFest@Malaysia.

Here are some of the authors making appearing during the nine-day fair. For more information, including a full list of author appearances and times, go to

> Russell Lee is a bit of a mystery. Most people know him as the Singaporean author responsible for the bestselling series True Singapore Ghost Stories. As of 2017, the 26 books in the series have sold over 1.5 million copies worldwide, making him one of the region’s most popular writers.

Whenever he appears in public, however, Lee always wears a mask, hat, and gloves, as well as clothes that cover every inch of himself. He has never released any photographs or information about his personal life, leading many to wonder about his identity. Here’s your chance to ask him why the secrecy, personally.

Meet Russell Lee on June 24 (Saturday) at 3pm-3.45pm.

BookFest> Andrew Matthews is one of the world’s most popular self- help authors. Based in Queensland, Australia, Matthews has empowered audiences in over 25 countries to enjoy their life and work. He has presented his ideas at over 1,000 conferences and conventions, usually on the topic of getting the most out of life.

His books, which include Being Happy, Follow Your Heart, How Life Works, Being A Happy Teen and Stop The Bullying, have sold over seven million copies in 43 languages. Matthews is also a talented illustrator, and many of his books come with humorous cartoons that he draws himself.

Meet Matthews on June 25 (Sunday) at 1pm-1.45pm.

BookFest> Boonsiri Somchit is an accomplished finance and operations professional with over three decades of experience. She has held senior leadership positions with several multinational companies, including Motorola, Komag, and Advanced Micro Devices, and is recognised as a world-class leader in global business services (GBS).

Somchit is a regular speaker and panellist at events all over the world on GBS, leadership, women in business, and motivation. She has shared her stories on the TEDx Women stage, and has been featured in publications such as Her World and Madam Chair magazines and The Star. Her first book is When The Chicken Dies, Everyone Cries, which focuses on how textbook leadership skills fail to bridge the gap between management and their people.

Meet Somchit on June 26 (Monday) at 5pm-5.45pm.

BookFest> Tunku Halim (in full, Tunku Halim Tunku Tan Sri Abdullah), a lawyer by trade, is known as “Malaysia’s Prince of Darkness” thanks to the popular dark fantasy and horror stories he has been publishing since the 1990s.

His short story collections include The Woman Who Grew Horns and Other Chilling Tales, 44 Cemetery Road, and Gravedigger’s Kiss, while his novels include Dark Demon Rising, Last Breath, and A Malaysian Restaurant In London.

He is also the author of several nonfiction books, including A Children’s History Of Malaysia, and So Fat-Lah! 30 Ways To A Slimmer You. His 2014 anthology, Horror Stories, won the first prize in the fiction category in the 2015 Popular-The Star Readers’ Choice Awards. Its sequel, Horror Stories 2, is nominated in this year’s awards. (The winners of the 2017 Readers’ Choice Awards will be announced at the BookFest on July 1.)

Meet Tunku Halim on July 1 (Saturday) at 2pm-2.45pm.

BookFest> Dr Lee Su Kim is an associate professor of English at the School of Language Studies and Linguistics, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia. She is a founder member and the first woman president of the Peranakan Baba Nyonya Association of Kuala Lumpur & Selangor.

Lee is the author of nine books including two bestsellers, Malaysian Flavours: Insights Into Things Malaysian and Manglish: Malaysian English At Its Wackiest, which have sold more than 10,000 copies each. Her short-story collection, Kebaya Tales, won the first prize in the fiction category in the 2011 Readers’ Choice Awards.

Meet Lee on July 1 (Saturday), at 6pm-6.45pm.

BookFest> Sonia Mael is the non de plume of Datin Harison Ahmad, who spent 18 years as a teacher, before entering the world of business at 45. She took up writing to fill the void left by the 2007 death of her husband of 40 years and has never looked back.

Her debut novel, Don’t Forget To Remember, won first prize for fiction in the 2016 Readers’ Choice Awards. She released her second novel, No Ordinary Love, earlier this year.

Kalsom Taib also started in the education line, before moving to the private sector, working in several multinational companies from the 1970s to the 1990s. She is the author of three biographies, Taib Andak: In A Class Of His Own; Zainab Ahmad: A Truly Remarkable Woman; and The Shafee Yahaya Story: Estate Boy To ACA Chief.

She published Kamaruddin Abdullah’s Pages From My Past, and was the co-author (with Hamidah Abdul Hamid) of Johor Palate: Tanjung Puteri Recipes, which won one of the “Best In The World” awards in the Culinary Heritage category at last year’s World Gourmand Cookbook Awards.

Meet Harison (ie Sonia Mael) and Kalsom on Sunday, July 2 (Sunday) at 3pm-3.45pm.

BookFest> Prof Mushtak Al-Atabi is currently the Senior Deputy Provost at Heriot-Watt University, Malaysia. He pioneered the CDIO (Conceive, Design, Implement, Operate) system and delivered the first MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) in Malaysia. He is an honorary chair at the School of Mechanical Engineering of the University of Birmingham (UK) and the editor-in-chief of the Journal Of Engineering Science & Technology.

Apart from numerous research publications, Prof Al-Atabi has published three books, Shoot The Boss, Think Like An Engineer, and Driving Performance.

Meet Prof Al-Atabi on July 2 (Sunday), at 6pm-6.45pm.

BookFest> Dr Soo Wincci is an award-winning singer, actress, model, host, and entrepreneur. She was crowned Miss Malaysia 2008 and represented Malaysia in the 2008 Miss World pageant.

In 2016, the Malaysian Book of Records proclaimed her the “first Miss Malaysia to receive a PhD” (it’s in business administration).

Soo is the owner of Beyond Artistes Sdn Bhd, and has been seen in many local films and television shows. She has released many albums, including 2009’s Soo Wincci, 2012’s Happiness, and 2014’s Wincci.

In 2017, she produced her first book and audio book entitled Inwinccible X. She has also been involved in music production and motivational speaking.

Meet Soo on July 2 (Sunday), at 7pm-7.45pm.

BookFest@Malaysia 2017 is from June 24 to July 2, 10am to 10pm, at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre.

Admission is with purchase of the BookFest catalogue at RM2.50 per entry or RM10 for multiple entries over the nine days. Catalogues are available at all Popular and Harris bookstore outlets nationwide and will also be sold at the event’s entrance.

Entrance is free for students who are 18 years old and below and for senior citizens aged 60 and above.

For more information, visit Star Media Group is a media partner of the event.

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