A time of monsters, mortals and immortals at George Town Literary Festival 2017

The George Town Literary Festival 2017 will take place from November 24 to 26 and book lovers will get a chance to participate in literary discussions, meet their favourite authors, attend forums and many more. – The Malaysian Insight pic, October 28, 2017.


COME November 24 to 26, the charming heritage enclave of George Town, Penang is set to take on a dark and twisted turn with the return of the seventh edition of the George Town Literary Festival, or GTLF.

With the very relevant theme of ‘Monsters and (Im)mortals’, GTLF 2017 will be the largest edition yet with over 60 speakers comprising of writers, poets, thinkers, filmmakers, performers and cultural icons from over 20 countries.

The theme ‘Monsters and (Im)mortals’, according to Bernice Chauly, the festival director, “looks at light and dark; of genius and madness, reality and fantasy, the element of the shadow in literature and of divine tragedy.”

Living up to the high recommendations by the public and media, the GTLF was shortlisted for the International Excellence Award for Best Literary Festival 2017 by The London Book Fair.

The three-day festival will see its highly-acclaimed line-up of local and international writers in over 40 events, including the inaugural Translators’ Roundtable, panel discussions, poetry readings, book launches, translation and writing workshops, and many more.

This year, Chauly is assisted by Co-Curators Gareth Richards, a writer, editor and a bookseller who set up the independent bookstore, Gerakbudaya Bookshop in Penang; and Pauline Fan, a writer, literary translator and Creative Director of Pusaka. Headlining the festival is Muhammad Haji Salleh, Malaysia’s National Laureate of 1991, will be delivering the festival’s keynote speech.

The list of confirmed luminaries who will be speaking at the GTLF include Belgian cultural historian David van Reybrouck; Malaysian-American journalist and Pulitzer Prize winner Mei Fong; Indonesia poet and food writer Laksmi Pamuntjak; Icelandic poet and children’s book writer Gerõur Kristńy; Northern Irish playwright and novelist Paul McVeigh; Singapore graphic novelist Sonny Liew; Dutch author and journalist Caroline de Gruyter; Burmese poet and artist Maung Day; Malaysian fantasy author Zen Cho, novelist Fahmi Mustafa, poet and activist Rahmat Haron, veteran visual artist and poet Latiff Mohidin and many more.

Festival goers will get the once-in-a-lifetime chance to meet all these speakers in Penang. Moreover, as the festival continues its tradition to be free and open to the public with the exception of some paid workshops, festival goers will have unlimited access to the many riveting conversations and panel discussions taking place over the three days.

There will be numerous book launches of renowned authors. Among them are the eminent K.S. Maniam who will be launching his newest collection of stories, the beloved Malaysian playwright Jit Murad with his collection of plays, and Jahabar Sadiq with ‘Kandaqstan’, his witty travelogue on Malaysian mamak food. Also, do keep a look out for the Poetry Marathon session that will feature 18 international poets!

Besides the Translators’ Roundtable, another component that the GTLF is introducing this year is the GTLF Fringe. To curate the inaugural GTLF Fringe, GTLF has collaborating with The Cooler Lumpur Festival’s co-founders and creative leads Umapagan Ampikaipakan and Hardesh Singh. The GTLF Fringe will see content created by local writers and artists, with a focus on those based in Penang.

Celebrating Penang’s Hokkien heritage, the festival will be screening ‘You Mean The World to Me’ directed by Saw Teong Hin. This is the first Malaysian film in the Penang Hokkien dialect. What’s more, the screening is free and open to all.

Making most of George Town’s exquisite collection of heritage building, the GTLF will be held in a few of such buildings, namely the Bangunan U.A.B., Wisma Yeap Chor Ee, Black Kettle and Majestic Theatre.

For bibliophiles and literary fans, the GTLF Pop Up Market is a must-visit, where Gerakbudaya Bookshop Penang will be selling books by every single writer appearing at the festival.

Be sure to follow GTLF on Facebook (@georgetownlitfest) or visit  www.georgetownlitfest.com for the latest update on the festival. – October 29, 2017.

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