Suzanne-Joinson#Word – A Cooler Lumpur Festival, Kuala Lumpur

Saturday 22 June 3:30pm MYT

A National Literature

Panelists: A. Samad Said, Suzanne Joinson (image left), Chuah Guat Eng, Alfian Sa’at. Moderator: Bernice Chauly

Author Biographies:

Abdul Samad bin Muhammad Said, pen name A. Samad Said is a Malaysian poet and novelist who, in May 1976, was named by Malay literature communities and many of the country’s linguists as the Pejuang Sastera (Literary Exponent). He also received the 1979 Southeast Asia Write Award and, in 1986, an award for his “continuous writings and contributions to the nation’s literary heritage”, Sasterawan Negara. He is the author of over 17 works.

Suzanne Joinson’s first novel ‘A Lady Cyclist’s Guide to Kashgar’ was published by Bloomsbury in 2012. It was reviewed in the New York Times, was an LA Times Bestseller, a Guardian/Observer Book of the Year 2012 and translated into 12 languages.

Chuah Guat Eng published her first novel,  Echoes of Silence, in 1994. Her other works are  Tales from the Baram River (2001), The Old House and Other Stories (2008), and a second novel, Days of Change (2010).  She read English literature at University of Malaya Kuala Lumpur, and German literature at the Ludwig-Maximilian University, Munich. In 2008, she received her PhD from the National University of Malaysia for her thesis, From Conflict to Insight: A Zenbased Reading Procedure for the Analysis of Fiction.

Alfian bin Sa’at is a Singaporean writer, poet and playwright. He is a Muslim of Minangkabau, Javanese and Hakka descent. Alfian published his first collection of poetry, One Fierce Hour at the age of twenty-one. The book was acclaimed as “truly a landmark for poetry [in Singapore]” by The Straits Times, and Alfian himself was described by Malaysia’s New Straits Times as “one of the most acclaimed poets in his country… a prankish provocateur, libertarian hipster”. A year later, Alfian published his first collection of short stories, Corridor, which won the Singapore Literature Prize Commendation Award. Alfian’s plays, written in both English and Malay, have received broad attention in both Singapore and Malaysia. They have also been translated into German and Swedish, and have been read and performed in London, Zurich, Stockholm, Berlin, Hamburg and Munich.

Bernice Chauly is a writer and poet. Born in George Town to Chinese-Punjabi teachers, she read education and English literature in Canada as a government scholar. For over 20 years, she has worked extensively in the creative industries as a writer, photographer, actor and filmmaker and has won multiple awards for her work and her contribution to the arts. In 2012, she was invited to be writer-in-residence with the Nederlands Letterenfonds (Dutch Foundation for Literature) in Amsterdam where she began work on a novel. She has toured and performed in literary festivals in Suriname, the Dutch Antilles, South Africa, Indonesia, India, Thailand, Hong Kong, Singapore and the Netherlands. She is the Festival Curator of the George Town Literary Festival in Penang, Malaysia.