If you've been reading this blog for any length of time, you will know that have posted several times about British author Anthony Burgess (real name John Burgess Wilson) who was a teacher at the Malay College in Kuala Kangsar in the 1950's.
Something that made me sad when I taught there in the 1980's was that no-one on the staff, and none of the students knew anything about him or had read his books. Burgess' first novel, Time for a Tiger (the first part of The Malayan Trilogy) was set in Kuala Kangsar and the town is also mentioned in Earthly Powers, considered to be one of the most important literary works of the last century.
Many of the old boys of Malay College remember Mr. Wilson with fondness, even if not all of them were aware that he was later a famous author. (My husband, Abu, did not make the connection that his Worsley-driving hostel master with the pretty wife was Wilson/Burgess until just a year or two ago!)
We are just bit late with our fiftieth anniversary celebration of the publication of Time for a Tiger (published 1956), but well, never mind!
Several things have come together:
First, meeting Rob Spence via this blog and persuading him (it wasn't hard!) to come to Malaysia to talk on Burgess.
Rob is a Mancunian like Burgess, brought up in the same district of Manchester (though some years later!). Currently he’s Associate Head of Department. English and History at
Burgess was the subject of his PhD thesis
, and he is planning to write a book on the author.He has published articles on various modern and contemporary writers including Robert Nye, George Mackay Brown, Penelope Fitzgerald and Jane Rogers, and has a book on Louis de Bernieres forthcoming.
Secondly, Professor Lim Chee Seng of University Malaya who made is possible for Rob to come. (Rob will also be giving a lecture there.)
Thirdly, the wonderful wonderful guys in MCOBA, in particular Mustapha Bakar, who took my sketchy idea and ran with it. I think that this will be a really interesting evening!
This then is the event:
Time for a TigerUpdate (30/12):
(A tribute to Anthony Burgess)
Date: 14 January
Venue: Wisma Sejarah, Jalan Tun Razak. Just before National Library if from Jln Pahang (Map)
Admission: Free or small charge (we are currently trying to get sponsorship) but by invitation only as places are limited due to size of the hall. Please contact me by email if you would like to attend. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Tentative Programme :
7.45 pm Cocktail
8.15 pm Opening Address by President of MCOBA
8.30 pm Introduction of Speaker by Sharon Bakar
8.40 pm Address by speaker Rob Spence.
9.30 pm Q & A and discussion
10.15 pm Supper and networking
The response for this has been fantastic (much more than I could have anticipated!) and I have now filled the seats I have available. I have replied to those people whose names are definitely on the list. Very many thanks!