Thursday, July 23, 2009

Antique Ad

Chet sent me this rather interesting invitation for a very long ago literary event held by Oxford University Press in Kuala Lumpur in the mid-1960's. (She says she found it in the Vol IV, 1965/66 issue of the Journal of the Historical Society, University of Malaya). As she says the Readings @ Seksan's monthly event may have had a predecessor we didn't know about!

Anyone remember these coffee mornings?

Postscript :

Found this account on a forum thread by someone who used to work there :
My very first job in 1964/65 was with Oxford University Press at Loke Yew building in KL. For most of the time I was at their Editorial Department under WM Martin who was the Chief Editor. Raymond Brammah was the big gun who managed OUP in Malaysia and Singapore but he was based in KL. There were rows and rows of books at the OUP showroom in Loke Yew building and even more books at the warehouse in Segambut. Like you I like the feel of books, especially the new ones .... but beware of paper cuts :-) I must have read 90% of the books displayed in the showroom. Most of the books stocked by OUP KL were of course their own publications but they were agents for Faber and a couple of other publishing houses which specialised in children's books.

While there I also had the opportunity to meet famous authors like Han Suyin and Wang Gangwu who came over periodically to discuss the drafts of their ongoing manuscripts. I interviewed Han Suyin for OUP's in-house magazine and one of the things she told me was that the characters in her books were all based on people she knew or met in real life. And she added that if she found me interesting enough, I would probably appear in her next book, "A Mortal Flower" ...... or was it "The Crippled Tree". I read both books and I suppose i did not make it to her "interesting persons list" :-(

I learned a lot at OUP and enjoyed my stint there very much.
Postscript (25/7/09):

Oh dear, oh dear. Pity the poor young lady who turned up at Bangunan Loke Yew this morning for this meeting! I felt so guilty as i explained on the phone what the ad was doing on my blog ...


Chet said...

According to one of the postings on the page that you took that recollection from, Preeta Samarasan's uncle used to work in OUP. Maybe she can ask him if he attended any of those coffee parties.

bibliobibuli said...

that was a pretty interesting page, wasn't it? i think preeta joins in the forum sometimes.