Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Lappers or Splashers?

Following the furor over Raman's decision to pull the plug on the Silverfish New Writing Series which he announced a week or two ago, he explains his decision:
When we published Silverfish New Writing 1 in 2001, we said that it would be fantastic if only one or two writers emerged from it. ('Writers' has become a sensitive word -- so henceforth we shall change that to 'authors'.) We reckoned that if we have about fifteen or twenty authors (what is the tipping point, anyway?) producing good stuff regularly, the whole industry would take on a much healthier glow and, perhaps, even attract international attention.

After seven years and seven books in the SNW series and two other anthologies, not one Malaysian 'lapper' has emerged. (Internationally, we only know of Gary Lamoshi, an American living in Hong Kong, whose novel-in-progress was featured in Collateral Damage, and whose full length novel, Hong Kong on Air, has just been published. We are not counting several others who were already published authors before they started sending their work in for SNW.) Yes, the New Writing series has touched many people in many ways and it has resulted in (if we allowed ourselves to be so immodest) a slight seismic shift in the local literary scene. However, no matter how precious we feel about it, it has not produced the desired result. The SNW series, instead of becoming a means, a stepping-stone leading towards an end, has become an end itself.
He's decided on a change of tack, nurturing up some promising voices from his writing class. The first collection of stories, News From Home, featuring three writers (Chua Kok Yee, Kow Shih-Li, Rumaizah Abu Bakar) is due out at the end of the month and will be very interesting to see.


A very poignant post by self-confessed splasher Deviant Urbanite:
I mean, it isn’t the New Yorker, but it was definitely thrilling to have been a part of it. I did send some of my stuff elsewhere too, but none of them were as inspiring or as relevant as Silverfish. Most of my stories (or story whims, more like) are set at home or have a Malaysian tone/context. It only made sense for them to be published back home where readers are better poised to appreciate or be impacted by them. And there’s a certain amount of pride associated with getting published in your homeland, too.

1 comment:

Tunku Halim said...

That's a real pity. Lofty goals but I reckon for most people being published in SNW is a good goal. Raman underrates his achievements!