The Book Project’ was conceived to help nurture successful amateur writers. The project, which focuses specifically on the large number of talented, unpublished writers in our midst in Malaysia, seeks to give a means and platform to such talent. ... Ms Theseira said, “The Book Project provides a wonderful opportunity for literally anyone and everyone to showcase their work. Once a writer’s work is published, who knows what other doors may open for them. The first step is to put their stories in print.”I'm still as ambivalent as ever, though I must confess that I haven't yet seen a copy of Book Project 1 and must judge by merit before I sound off. It's great that new writers have a forum to publish their work, we certainly need all the forums for new work we can get ... but how much are they learning by having their work edited for them (not by them), and shouldn't there be a modicum of survival of the fittest to ensure the best work gets through? Isn't The Book Project more about vanity publishing than helping new writers learn the craft?
Joann Koh in the Star shared my concerns in an article she wrote back in June :
... questions arise. With such a loose set of criteria, will The Book Project satisfy the expectations of a paying public? If not, is the public supposed to overlook personal satisfaction for the more noble cause of having supported local writing? More importantly, how much has getting published helped these new writers write better for a paying public, if not now, then in the near future?The evidence in the end has to come from the writers themselves and I would love to hear of their experiences. (Yvonne Foong has a story in BP2 so I'm sure she will let us know about her experiences.)
I found Jermaine's blog (one of the writers anthologised in the first book). She writes very eloquently about what it feels like to have your story mutilated:
he whips out a scapel. he runs it over my body.Update: Yvonne's account of the launch with pictures. Courage to dream. Of course. Just make this the first published piece of many.
slitting, slashing, slicing and severing.
i think i have died, but not quite, not yet.
and then i feel him lift up what is left of my mangled self. he carries me to the balcony.
"it is yours! devour it in all its perfection!" he shouts to the ravenous crowd below.
i fall into the sea of groping hands.