I ... took part in two panel sessions. One was entitled Wanderlust: Travelling Stories and featured Aussie outback traveller and writer Andrew McMillan and Brian Thacker, who specialises in travel off the beaten track.I was stifling my feeling of sadness at not being in Ubud for the Writers and Readers Festival for the first time in three years. Then Lee Su Kim's piece in today's Starmag brought home to me just how much I missed being there and I could have cried.
In the other panel session entitled Across Genres: Identity, Family and Place, I talked about multiple identities and shared stories and identity experiences from my Peranakan and Malaysian heritage.
I was invited to do readings from my books with other selected authors at a Literary Lunch in a beautiful setting amidst emerald-green rice fields at John Hardy’s unique estate and at a panel session entitled Dangerous Women held at the magnificent Alila Hotel, which is dramatically set on a cliff overlooking forests with two narrow gorges running through the lush valley below. I must say that, apart from the attraction of meeting writers from all over the world, another pulling power of this festival has to be its ambience. The settings were superb, rich with the natural beauty of Bali.
I'm really glad Su Kim had such a wonderful time though and plan to make the trip next year. Meanwhile there is the Singapore Writers Festival to look forward to this month.
(BTW, I've heard a rumour that there will soon be a new international literary festival starting up in Thailand, which will be close enough for us to get to too.)
One thing Su Kim gets wrong, as do the organisers of the Singapore Writers' Fest, Shamini Flint is a Malaysian, not a Singaporean author. (Ask her! ... Though just as a bowl of yong tau foo is delicious on both sides of the causeway, apart from flag-waving, does it really matter?)