George Town Lit Fest launches first book, readies up small scale on-site events


  • Books
  • Friday, 26 Nov 2021

George Town Literary Festival's first publication 'Muara: Confluence/Pertemuan', a bilingual journal (English/Bahasa Malaysia) features contributions from a cast of authors, poets, thinkers and literary activists. Photo: GTLF

The George Town Literary Festival 2021 (GTLF) is set for a belated 10th anniversary celebration this weekend in Penang with a series of physical events and bookshop gatherings, including the launch of the festival's first publication Muara: Confluence/Pertemuan, a bilingual journal (English/Bahasa Malaysia) with contributions from a cast of authors, poets, thinkers, translators and literary activists.

The four-day GTLF, which started yesterday, has already been running through its diverse online programming, with daily podcast sessions uploaded on Spotify and available to watch on YouTube.

The upcoming on-site events (pre-registration required) in George Town will be headlined by the Muara: Confluence/Pertemuan journal launch at the Event Hall, UAB Building at 6pm tomorrow (Nov 27). A literary and cultural conversation surrounding Hang Tuah - Adiwira Bangsa will take place earlier at the same venue at 2pm.

Malaysia-based French author Serge Jardin will also be hosting a book launch (Diary Of A French Missionary: Penang During The Japanese Occupation) on Nov 27 at the Penang Diocesan Museum at 10.30am, followed by a literary conversation French Connections In Troubled Times: The Japanese Occupation Of Penang.

On Nov 28, GTF's on-site events will happen at the Angier And Borden space at The Prestige Hotel with Two Malaysian Folktales: A Storytelling Session by Heidi Shamsuddin at 10.30am, Little Worlds Of Make-Believe (Wan Phing Lim, Regina Ibrahim and Marc de Faoite) at 2pm and the Anthology As Microcosm (Anna Tan and Deric Ee) session at 4pm.

"One of the highlights of this year's George Town Literary Festival is a literary journal called Muara. It is a collaboration between GTLF and the Bahasa Malaysia journal Svara. We put together this literary journal Muara as a celebration of the 10th anniversary of GTLF, which happened last year, but we were not able to celebrate," says Pauline Fan, GTLF director.

"So this year we decided to put together a physical publication partly because everything has been online and I think many of us are missing the aspect of gathering and being together physically," she adds.

As GTLF representatives, Fan and curator Izzuddin Ramli will be joining Svara co-founders Hafiz Hamzah and Badrul Hisham Ismail at the Muara launch tomorrow.

Featuring essays, short stories, poetry, book reviews, and translations, Muara gathers 36 established and emerging writers from Malaysia, the region, and the world. They include Indonesian literary legend Goenawan Mohamad, American writer/political essayist Eliot Weinberger and Myanmar-born poet Ko Ko Thett right to homegrown names such as Kam Raslan, Faisal Tehrani, Ho Sok Fong, Kulleh Grasi and Ooi Kee Beng.

The literary journal Muara (which means estuary in Bahasa Malaysia) also plays tribute to Penang as a vibrant port and cosmopolitan city in the South-East Asian region.

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