BookFest@Malaysia 2017: Get tips on writing scary stories from the experts

  • Books
  • Tuesday, 20 Jun 2017

We Malaysians love our horror stories, whether they be lurid tales from folklore, gruesome accounts of twisted crimes, or mysterious experiences that happened to a friend-of-a-friend’s uncle’s nephew.

Our local movies are packed with ghosts and ghouls, both of the serious and comedic variety.

Horror fiction certainly sells like hotcakes here – just ask our reigning “Prince of Darkness”, Tunku Halim (in full, Tunku Halim Tunku Tan Sri Abdullah), who has sold millions of copies of his horror story collections in the last two decades. In fact, his Horror Stories 2 has been nominated in this year’s Popular-The Star Readers’ Choice Awards, and books are only nominated for these awards if they are bestsellers.

Indie publishers are also helping to grow this genre, not only in this country but regionally too, so horror is currently a very hot area to write about. If you’d like to join the writers tapping this genre, then this year’s BookFest@Malaysia’s writing workshop is perfect for you.

The workshop is held in conjunction with this year’s BookFest@Malaysia fair that will be held at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (KL Convex). The fair is organised by Popular Book Co (M) Sdn Bhd and the workshop is part of its “Popular Supports Local Authors” initiative.

Held over two days, BookFest@Malaysia’s 3rd Writing Workshop: Horror Stories! will be conducted by some of the country’s most prominent authors and horror writers to get you started on creating spooktacular stories that will keep readers up all night.

Here are brief introductions to the speakers:

Eeleen Lee

Lee writes crime, horror, science-fiction, and the occasional film and book review is magazines such as Esquire Malaysia. She has had books published by MPH Group Publishing, Monsoon Books Singapore, Intellect Books UK, and Mammoth Publishing UK.

She is the editor of the anthology KL Noir: Blue (Fixi Novo, 2014) and the author of short story collection 13 Moons (Fixi Novo, 2014), which won third prize in the fiction category of the Popular-The Star Readers’ Choice Awards in 2015.

Julya Oui

Oui is the author of several short story anthologies, including Bedtime Stories From The Dead Of Night (MPH Group Publishing, 2013); three others, published by Fixi Novo, form a triptych of horror: Here Be Nightmares (2014) There Be Monsters (2015), and Them Horrors Be Everywhere (2016).

Here Be Nightmares won third prize in the fiction category of the Readers’ Choice Awards last year.

Kris Williamson

Williamson is a publishing consultant and author originally from Florida, the United States, but who now lives in Malaysia. He founded the South-East Asian-themed e-zine Anak Sastra in 2010, is the editor of the anthology KL Noir: Yellow (Fixi Novo, 2014), and the author of the novel Son Complex (Fixi Novo, 2013).

Megat Ishak 

Megat is a local author who has had many short stories published in Malaysia and Singapore. He has written several anthologies, including Cannibal Vs Ah Long And Other Bloody Stories (Storm Publishing, 2011), Dark Highways (Fixi Novo, 2013), and Hard Core (Fixi Novo, 2015); the last is nominated in this year’s Readers’ Choice Awards.

Robert Raymer 

Raymer is an American author and writing facilitator who has been based in Kuching for more than a decade. He has taught creative writing for 13 years at two Malaysian universities and has been published over 500 times in various local and international publications. His short story collection, Lovers And Strangers Revisited (MPH Group Publishing, 2008), won the top fiction prize in the 2009 Readers’ Choice Awards.

His The Girl In The Bathtub (2015) was a finalist in the 2015 Faulkner-Wisdom Novel Award. Raymer also writes nonfiction, such as Tropical Affairs: Episodes From An Expat’s Life In Malaysia (MPH Group Publishing, 2009), and Spirit Of Malaysia (Editions Didier Millet, 2011).

Workshop schedule

Day 1 of the workshop will see participants learning how to generate story ideas, write openings and settings, and develop characters. This will be followed on Day 2 by classes on creating engaging storylines, rewriting, and getting published.

The workshop will take place from 10.30am to 5pm on June 26 and 27 at the Hospitality Lounge in Hall 5 of BookFest@Malaysia 2017 at the KL Convex.

Participants must be aged 16 and up, be passionate about writing fiction, and aspire to be a writer.

Registration is RM80, including GST. The fee is inclusive of an entry ticket to the BookFest and exclusive notes from the speakers. Tickets can be bought at selected Popular outlets in the Klang Valley.

For more information, call K.C. at 03-9179 6146 or e-mail You can also visit the website or go to their Facebook page.

BookFest@Malaysia 2017 will be on daily, from 10am to 10pm, from June 24 to July 2 at the KL Convex. 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. Star Media Group is a media partner of BookFest@Malaysia 2017.

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