This November, George Town Lit Fest celebrates long-awaited on-site return


The George Town Literary Festival 2022 returns this November with a full scale on-site programme, featuring 72 participants from the international literary scene. This image shows a view of the festival in 2018. Photo: GTLF

After two years of virtual editions during the pandemic, the George Town Literary Festival (GTLF) in Penang returns to its physical form this year.

The festival, which will take place on Nov 24-27, will welcome 72 participants from 18 countries.

This year’s festival theme is "Taming The Wild", a nod to the complex relationship between "wilderness" and "human nature".

“Human nature is born of the wilderness. Yet we relentlessly tame our instincts, resist the power of nature and subjugate life on earth. Our world is now poised between civilisation and barbarism. How far have we ‘progressed’ as a species in our over-rationalised society that idolises efficiency and precision while abandoning the mysteries of nature and the magic of the sublime?” reads the introduction on the GTLF website.

GTLF is directed by Pauline Fan and curated by Izzuddin Ramli. The curatorial team has been expanded to include two new curators for the Tamil and Chinese panels, Malaysian Tamil writer M. Navin and Dr Florence Kuek of Universiti Malaya.

The programme includes one-on-one conversations, panel discussions, readings, book launches, exhibitions and workshops.

Notable Malaysian guests include Malaysian National Laureate Zurinah Hassan; the winner of the Epigram Books Fiction Prize 2022, Karina Robles Bahrin; Fang Lu, the first prize recipient of the Huazong Literary Award; and visual artist Syarifah Nadhirah.

The line-up also includes regional and international names such as Indonesian poet and critic Nirwan Dewanto; Myanmar poets ko ko thett and Nandar; Algerian poet Habib Tengour; 2022 International Booker Prize finalists Bora Chung and Anton Hur; eminent poet, essayist and translator Pierre Joris; Ukrainian poet Andriy Lyubka; and Vietnamese-French novelist Thuan.

From Nov 25-27, Japanese bookstore Kinokuniya, the festival’s official bookstore, will have a pop-up store at the UAB Building. The festival main site is along Gat Lebuh Cina in George Town.

All GTLF events are free, with the exception of the writing workshops by festival writers.

The festival is funded by the state government of Penang and produced by the Penang Convention and Exhibition Bureau.

More info here.

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