Over thirty writers from fifteen countries are participating in this year’s festival, making it our boldest and biggest yet!
Kicking off the festival is vocal social activist and writer Marina Mahathir who will deliver the keynote address on the festival’s theme this year: We Are Who We Are/Are We Who We Are?
Other Malaysian novelists and poets include Man Asian winner Tan Twan Eng, Shirley Geok-lin Lim, Lim Swee Tin, Chuah Guat Eng and the internationally celebrated cartoonist Zunar. Noted South East Asian writers include Joshua Ip (Singapore), Danton Remoto (Philippines) and Lily Yulianty Farid (Indonesia).
We are also grateful for our continuing partnership with foreign embassies and cultural institutions and we are thrilled to have these celebrated writers with us this year: Wajahat Ali, (American/Pakistani playwright/Al-Jazeera host of The Stream), the luminous poet Anja Utler (Germany); novelist Anne Provoost (Belgium), literary superstar Franca Treur (Netherlands); translator and writer Maureen Freely (USA/UK), memoirist Judy Fong Bates (Canada) and many more.
We have the largest number of poets participating this year and headlining that list is the powerful Malaysian/Australian rapper and verse novelist Omar Musa, Pablo Jofre (Chile), Lawrence Ypil (Philippines) and the versatile sound poet and artist Jaap Blonk (Netherlands). Spoken word event Pontianak, which features an all-female local cast will thrill audiences at a Chinese temple at midnight.
The theme of this year’s festival not only grapples with identity but also wrestles with the politics of hypocrisy, shame and powerlessness, so we also have some of South East Asia’s most noted practitioners and writers of history and the performing arts – Anthony Milner, Tan Sooi Beng, Paul Augustin, Ooi Kee Beng and Khoo Salma Nasution – among others.
Our moderators include some of Malaysia’s most discerning critics and academics so you can be assured of riveting discussions and an inspiring weekend of words, conversations and discourses.
It’s all free! And it’s in glorious George Town!
So see you there!