Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Getting published by foreign-based major players is a big challenge for Malaysian writers because unlike countries such as India, we do not have many prominent writers whose works have been published or translated for an international audience. ... You need to be persistent and willing to accept criticisms. Once you find a willing publisher, you must put your ego aside and be ready to go out and convince bookstores to carry your book. You really cannot just leave it to the publisher’s marketing department or your agent. ... In an ideal world, if your book is good, it will sell itself but this isn’t an ideal world — no one will come knocking unless you tell them what you have.
Tan Twan Eng in The Star's Metro North dispenses advice, and talks about his love for Penang and his next novel, set in Cameron Highlands and due to be published next year.


Anonymous said...

I coordinate several book clubs.

2 questions for you, please.

1) What are the very most pleasurable Malaysian fiction books in English, whether in-print, out of print, etc.?

2) Who are the very best literary translators from Malaysia's many languages into English?


bibliobibuli said...

1) pleasurable depepends on your taste of course. i'm not sure where in the world you are but i'd say start with one of the tan twan eng's "the gift of rain", or preeta samarasan's "evening is the whole day" then there's tash aw's "the harmony silk factory" and chiew siah teh's "little hut of leaping fishes" - although this last one is actually set in china. all these novels should be easily available wherever you are.

2) as for translators - most of the translation is from malay to english and my favourite translation of all is adibah amin's translation of shahnon ahmad's "no harvest but a thorn" ("rancang sepanjang jalan") though this is sadly out of print

*sigh* there simply isn't enough translation of malay titles going on and you won't find them overseas

or is there something i've forgotten? (amir and others please help me here)

a good source of books in malaysia is silverfish and books can be posted anywhere in the world

Anonymous said...

I think it's "Ranjau" and not "Rancang"...i remember this because as schoolboys we laughed at the similarity of "Ranjau" to "Lanjiau"

- Poppadumdum

bibliobibuli said...

haha sorry! yes. corrected

Anonymous said...

Based on your suggestion, I will purchase a copy of the work by Shahnon Ahmad.

I would welcome anyone's continuing thoughts on thse two questions.

Anonymous said...

Thought-provoking interview! Looking forward to reading his new book.

Anonymous said...

ooo I can't wait for his new book! i LOVED his gift of rain :D


Anonymous said...

It was reprinted in the Star's KL Metro too!