KL Lit Fest ’07 – Day Two/Three

This should have been up last Friday ages ago, but the problem with sleep debt’s that the interest’s rather high, and I’ve been struggling to meet the minimum payments. Anyway, now that that’s cleared up (ooh, look at the incoming traffic).

When Ms. Audrey, my Lit lecturer asked me today about the whole thing I found myself going into ums and ahs. Found out later that she was part of the organizing committee while in UM a few years back. Shows how incestuous the literary scene in KL is… not like that’s really surprising to begin with.


The rest of the festival was split between more writing tips, more poetry, even more writing tips and to cap it all off, a rather subdued ending with Camilla Gibbs at The Marmalade.

Tash Aw was at his finest again with The Endings, working his charm over the audience, occasionally inserting bits of what I faintly guessed was dry British wit. The audience this time around had apparently learnt from yesterday and crowded around in front. I was contented to secure a place far behind, out of reach this time.

I suppose it wouldn’t hurt to say that yes, I did get his autograph. Couldn’t find his book, but I suppose that wasn’t that important. Got to take my picture with him, but I still think this one with the duck’s superior.

Beats
lot more of where that came from at Tarlia’s Flickr. be warned.

Word Forward was up next, more performance poetry from a bunch of Singaporean poets. I suppose I should say something about accents at this point: I could decipher 90% of what was Zephaniah’s Birmingham accent. Sumithra Rahubaddhe, whom I would be seeing for Creative Writing later — her Sri Lankan accent was sleep-inducing yet perfectly understandable.

Yet I couldn’t understand half of what Chris-Mooney Singh was saying.Found it pretty ironic given how his poems were all about Singapore (which doesn’t automatically translate into something we Malaysians understand, but that’s forgivable), that I couldn’t understand most of it. Read this ANN article that shed some light on it — he’s Australian-born, half-Irish apparently.

But even Ryan McNiece’s presumably Southern accent was a lot more palatable. That aside, I thought they gave a great performance, especially the other two poets whose names I didn’t catch.

The creative writing workshop was a bit sleepy — at this point I was ready to head back home for a shower and sleep. The aforementioned Sri Lankan accent was hypnotic. It seemed rather disappointing when I realised at one point that she was reading out of a list — you’d think that someone of her stature would be speaking ad hoc. Learnt a few valuable pointers, in any case.

Friday’s session with Camilla Gibb was pretty interesting — she’s studied Social Anthropology, pretty much like what China Mieville did. The extract she read out was pretty interesting, which made me think all the more about wonders a major in that would do for my writing.

Would’ve stood up and bashed a hole in her remark about how the Quran was superior to the Bible for being “untainted” in terms of the former not being translated like the latter did, if I was someone really concerned about those things. But I was still sleepy, and didn’t really feel like going out of the way to correct a logical fallacy on an empty stomach. Pretty amusing how shallow one’s understanding can get.

For a first-timer attending the KL Lit Fest I guess it was alright. Could’ve done with more sessions and shorter breaks. More policing of those who attended (e.g more intimate venues) would’ve done a whole lot of good. RM50 was a steal — I guess I’ll be back the next time it comes around. Hopefully, if I’m not out of the country by then…

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