The inaugural Langkawi Writers’ Festival in Kedah, happening from Sept 1-4, is another positive step towards consolidating the northern Malaysian literary scene, which already has the internationally acclaimed George Town Literary Festival and the independent MYWritersFest in Penang.
The Langkawi Writers’ Festival is set to take place at Auditorium Kota Mahsuri and Balai Seni Negara Langkawi. Both venues will host author sessions, readings, book launches/forums, storytelling gatherings, poetry slams, an art exhibition, movie screenings, travelogue workshops and an arts bazaar.
“Langkawi is very popular among tourists but there aren’t many literature or cultural events here. We planned this festival to attract literature and art-loving tourists to Langkawi,” says Morne Hashim, Langkawi Writers’ Festival director and founder.
"The aim of the Langkawi Writers’ Festival is to also encourage the public to better understand the history of Bahasa Malaysia while upholding its appeal through the writing of young writers, in hope that their works will be accepted in the broader world of literature,” she adds.
The festival, originally planned before pandemic, will bring together local and international writers from various fields. Bahasa Malaysia and English book and literature events will be the highlights in the festival's mostly bilingual programming.
“We want to celebrate curiosity and a sense of intellectual adventure and our programme is driven by the desire to spark ideas," says Morne.
One of the regional literary names set to appear at the festival is writer and screenwriter Eka Kurniawan, who was the first Indonesian to be longlisted for the Man Booker International Prize 2016 for his supernatural fable Man Tiger (translated from his original book Lelaki Harimau).
Newcomer author Karina Robles Bahrin, who is based in Langkawi, is also participating at the festival. Her debut book The Accidental Malay, which won the regional Epigram Books Fiction Prize 2022, will be released next month.
The full list of writers and panelists for Langkawi Writers’ Festival will be announced soon.
The festival is supported by Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, the National Art Gallery, Langkawi Development Authority, Finas, and Morne Gallery.
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