Twan, who is now back in South Africa, also goes along to the Cape Town Book Fair, now in its second year. The event is a collaboration between Germany's Frankfurt Book Fair and the Publisher's Association of South Africa. It sounds an enormous affair with a deliciously varied range of events.
The cover story is an interview by Hah Foong Lian with a Malaysian author who has slipped beneath this blogger's literary radar ... yes, I know that Khoo Kang-Hor was nominated for the IMPAC by the National Library staff (who always choose to support a local writer rather than vote for the international novel they consider best overall) but apart from that I don't remember Khoo's first novel Taikor (which means "big brother") really being promoted at the time. I heard about it by word of mouth from friends and saw it only in the ghettoised shelves of books by local writers in the bookshops.
Maybe I should have picked it up. Maybe now I will. Hizamnuddin Awang reviews the book and judges it:
...one of the very rare, well-written works of fiction by a local author.(Though this sweeping generalisation begs the question, how rare actually is "very rare"??)
But Khoo's latest novel sounds more interesting. Writes Hah:
Mamasan is set in 1970s and 1980s Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, in the colourful world of cabarets and nightclubs. Khoo created a host of vividly drawn characters, such as dance hostesses, mamasans (madams), bouncers and the customers who patronise these nightclubs. He steers adroitly clear of stereotyping and addresses hypocrisy and how an external veneer and charm can hide flaws.Nightwing reviews the book favourably on the next page.
Khoo Keng-Hor lives in Cameron Highlands was a journalist before joining the corporate world and has produced 26 non-fiction books based on Sun Tzu's The Art of War. He is currently working on another historical novel. (The author's website is here.)
Bridget Rozario writes about Malaysian-born Russell Daniel Ng who's written and illustrated his first book. (Keep going, kid!)
And then there are appetite whetting reviews of books I want to read including William Boyd's Restless, Emma Darwin's The Mathematics of Love and John Updike's Terrorist. And there are lots of discount coupons from various bookshops for the books featured in the supplement.
All good stuff.