What is Readings@Seksan?
“Readings” is a monthly gathering of writers which was started in 2005 by Bernice Chauly. (There is now also Ceritaku@No Black Tie which Bernice organises.)
The aim is to encourage writers by giving them a platform for them to read their work and socialize. Each session features 6 writers (and we interpret that term pretty widely) – and there is always a mixture of the established and newbie, fiction and non-fiction, published and not yet published, in Malay and in English. We also like to throw in some music and performance when we can for variety (after all we can get textually constipated!) and would love to hear from anyone who feels that they can contribute in this way.
Our venue is Seksan’s beautiful space –the ground floor gallery of a landscape architect’s office 67, Jalan Tempinis 1, Bangsar. (Map can be found at www.seksan.com)
Generally we get an audience of around 30-40, though once more than 100 turned up. The event runs from 3.30 to around 6p.m. and light refreshments are provided.
If you are reading please turn up a few minutes early if you can, to stop the organizer panicking! Those who come earliest get to pick their time slot.
How Do I Get to Read?
Reading is by invitation, though by all means get in touch if you’d like to be featured. Preference is given in any particular month to those with a book to promote.
How Good Do I Have to Be?
Tricky question this. We want to encourage keen new and unpublished writers but must also be convinced that you can hold the audience’s attention during the time you are up in front. We’ve worked very hard to build an audience and don’t want to lose it because folks find the readings boring or work not of a very high standard. But if we say no to you now, just go away and work hard at your craft and come back to you when you have something that will knock our socks off!
Incidentally, if you are an unpublished poet, we’re even more picky since there is so much bad poetry around. Please go attend some workshops, take part in open mic events, or link up with Poetry Underground (via Facebook) to practice your writing and performance skills, and have your work critiqued constructively.
What Sort of Thing Shall I Read?
Readers may read in either English or Malay and the texts can be fiction, poetry, creative non-fiction, newspaper columns, blog posts or dramatic scripts. (Maybe there are other things to add to this list that you can think of?) You are welcome to read from works in progress.
How Long Do I Get?
Around ten minutes is ideal, although we budget for 15 minute slots. We take out our rifles and shoot anyone who oversteps that 15 minute mark.
Everyone gets the same allocation of time, regardless of their writerly status! (Even if you win the Booker Prize, that’s all you’re getting!).
Wah! I’ll Never be Able to Read My Short Story in That Time!
So just give us a tempting morsel. Let’s hear your voice and get an idea of your style. Remember too that an audience can’t focus for too long when listening to a piece of text, so rather than have them switch off, give them something that intrigues them so much that they want to read your work for themselves.
I Am Hopeless at Reading, Can My Friend Read for Me?
Yes, sure. As long as you are there to take your bow!
Actually though, reading aloud is a very useful skill for a writer to develop and some time spent in front of the mirror, or in front of a voice recorder will help you to deliver your words effectively.
Could I Make Copies of My Piece for the Audience?
We love it when writers take the time and trouble to do this, and it makes listening to your words even easier!
I’ve Just Published a Book, Can I bring Copies to Sell?
We really welcome the sale of books and provide a space for sales during the break and after the event. There is no charge for this. But you are responsible for selling your own books and collecting the money!
Sometimes larger bookshops/ publishers (e.g. MPH) come along to sell books on behalf of authors.