Friday, September 28, 2007

Postcard from Bali

Thought I'd just drop you a line to say Having a Lovely Time, Wish You Were Here.

It's 4.30 p.m. and I'm in a Toko Toko cyber cafe across the road from the venues for the Ubud Readers' and Writers' Festival, in a little wedge of time sandwiched between a session on women writing in Asia and Mohammad Cohen's book launch for Hong Kong on Air in a cafe the other side of town.

This year, the fourth year of the festival, there are over 80 writers from different parts of the world taking part in panel discussions, workshops, launches and performances: a vertiable smogasboard of literary appetizers of both big name writers (and no-one bigger at the moment that Kiran Desai who won last year's Booker) and writers you probably haven't had the chance to hear about yet, particularly those from other parts of the region.

And our own guys, Kam and Twan and Ann Lee, really doing us proud.

The numbers of folks attending this year far greater than ever before. Word is that the festival will need a bigger venue next year as the upstairs room of Indus restaurant is now getting so full for the main sessions that scarcely another soul could be shoehorned inside.

Many of the people attending are Australian book lovers and I've made new friends from Perth and Sydney and Melbourne ... but there is a big group of Malaysians here this year latching on to the idea that a book talk can be combined happily with a relaxing Bali break. Put book lovers and writers from wherever together and you have instant and easy rapport between strangers ...

There is so much buzzing in my brain, not just from the panel sessions which have been excellent ... and also because of meeting and renewing aquaintance with so many people from the region and beyond.

People who say who say how can we make links with the writing and publishing scene in your part of the world? How can we network and share our experience? How can we share our markets? How can we get word out? How can we help you? I'm doing my best to network.

My notebook is full of scribbled notes which I hope I can reconstitute when I get back. My camera full of photos to be downloaded. And I've picked up loads of business cards.

All this just to say, that while I miss you ... I'm actually having too much fun to blog coherently at the moment, and it's not too easy in snatched moments while my mind is elsewhere.

But I promise you a full account when I get back next week.

Now off to that launch!


Kak Teh said...

Sharon, how I envy you!! It is cold and gloomy in London BUT I have Amir Muhamad's MPSTDT and was chuckling away in the tube last night reading it.
Have fun.

Lydia Teh said...

Sharon, sounds like you're having lots of fun. Can't wait to read the updates from you. Take care.

lil ms d said...

have funnnn sharon!!!!!!!

Greenbottle said...

so, how's kiran desai in real life?

i'd be nice if you can interview her and blog it here....

bibliobibuli said...

kiran is lovely ... very sweet, very real. and i took a lot of notes in the two sessions with her i attended. ann lee has also interviewed her for 'off the edge' so you will lots about kiran to read soon.

kak teh, lydia and ms d - thanks for waving to me! i feel a bit naughty not blogging as such but the pace is so hectic and a cybercafe doesn't feel enough like home to relax in. had such a great time today - session after session of exciting stuff - and yet more malaysian friends turned up!

Poppadumdum said...

Kiran Desai was friendly and down to earth and approachable. Pity about her book though! :-)

Anonymous said...

how exciting. culture is fun. and here we are in kl, raiding Ikea (and stealing their pencils).

Gette said...

*big sigh*

I wish I could have stayed longer. And I hate post-holiday blues. I can't seem to get any work or blogging done.

I miss mushing down Monkey Forest Road to the tune of "taxi?" every few shops. I miss gorgeous art and crafts everywhere you look and the warren of tiny lorongs between buildings. And I miss the Apostrophe group I was hanging out with.

I'm gonna go look at my photos again and pine.

bibliobibuli said...

anon - stealing IKEA pencils is a favourite sport of mine too! they're always so sharp!

gette - i'm sighing too. going to the airport in a couple of hours ...