Readings@Seksan might have been voted one of the coolest events in town, but I can tell you that on Saturday afternoon the heat was intense, the humidity suffocating. So hot in fact that our first writer started to feel unwell halfway through his set, and had to stop.
But Shinji Moriwaki came back in the second part of the afternoon with a high-energy delivery of very powerful hip-hop poems with social and political themes- the first one about Islamic fundamentalism particularly clever.
I first heard Shinji during the open mic session at one of the Wayang Kata gigs last year and knew I had to invite him. Some of you may know him better as Figure of Speech, a hip-hop drum 'n' bass emcee who is also a member of The Works.
Our Nigerian-resident-in-Malaysia author Anthony Isoh told us a little about his latest novel Black Banana and read to us from the first chapter.
Bissme S. is a journalist with The Sun and I've linked to his interviews with authors several times. He also writes short fiction, and has had stories published in Dark City 2 and now in Aweks (translated into Malay). He read for us a story called To Be His Lover which had a very surprising ending.
Kenny Mah catches the insecurities and the bitter-sweetness of love so well. (One of the pieces he was Hide and Seek).
Nazri M. Annuar, better known as Vovin who read a short story from K-Eight the latest publication put out by Sindiket Soljah.
Poet Pey Colbourne was also making her second appearance at Readings and I hope it isn't too long before we have a book of her work. Among the poems she read Lost Seasons of Sun and Rain which expressed a nostalgia for the Malaysian climate (and a peel of thunder rang out bang on cue!) and a magical piece called Fox Women based on a Chinese legend.
Kathleen Choo, George Wielgus, Reza Rosli and Hazlan Zakaria members of Poetry Underground (a very active group which meets regularly to work on their poetry and practice performance skills - find them here on Facebook) gave us a poem each, (and very appropriately Kathleen's and George's were about about what poetry should be like!)
Our afternoon ended with slices of a delicious butter cake (with a slightly salty to tease the tongue topping) baked for us by Nigel Skelchy of Just Heavenly.
Sincere thanks to all who read and all who came. To Shahril Nizam for the lovely poster - his only reward for which is plenty of good karma! To Seksan (below) for the beautiful space, even more good karma.
Apologies for not being too fast blogging all this. My camera packed up and I had to beg the photos from Lyrical Lemongrass from whom I lifted the pictures of Kenny, Pey, Shinji, cake and Seksan (see the whole set here) and from Daphne Lee (the pictures of Anthony and Bissme).
Our next event is on June 28th and among the readers will be award-winning Sri Lankan author, Elmo Jayawardena.