This year, a panel discussion of particular interest was Malaysians Making History, where début novelists Preeta Samarasan (Evening Is the Whole Day, a novel about an Indian immigrant family in Ipoh in the 1980s) and Chiew-Siah Tei (Little Hut of Leaping Fishes, the first in a trilogy about a Mandarin who feels torn during East-West confrontations in China) sat on either side of award-winning Malaysian writer, Faisal Tehrani (who writes atypical and award-winning novels in Malay, such as Bila Tuhan Berbicara, which he highlighted at this festival).Tan May Lee writes about thius year's Ubud Writers and Readers Festival in Starmag today and in particular about the six Malaysian authors who did us proud.
The panel was a small representation of the fast-growing breed of local writers successfully making it on local, regional, and international levels.
To Samarasan ... the local writing scene “is just evolving ... The fact that Tash Aw (Malaysia-born, London-based author of international best-seller, The Harmony Silk Factory and locally famous for getting a multi-million ringgit advance for his debut novel) did it ... people are beginning to see that they can become writers as well.”
(Photos of Preeta by May Lee.)