Here's me and a big red dinosaur I met at the KL International Bookfair on Sunday. I am the one on the right, and the photo was taken by blogger extraordinaire Eyeris whom I bumped into as I was leaving the event.
He must think I am totally without conversation because we went for noodles after that and I was too shattered to have much to say. (Eyeris, I almost slumped face down into my Singapore mee hoon soup and started snoring.) Just getting to Putra World Trade centre by the LRT and dodging another afternoon deluge and then navigating the huge expanse of book displays flooded with families out for the afternoon was enough to do me in.
I didn't see many of the book displays. I went to talk to my friend Elke aka Ms Payless Books (at booths 8064-8067 if you have trouble finding it). Was pretty restrained and only bought one book : The Crossing by Cormac McCarthy.
The KataSuara reading was quite fun, not least because of the musicians Raja Ahmad had co-opted to provide digestive space between the words. Usratika started the event off. Dewangga Sakti played Malay roots music on traditional instruments with a contemporary twist. Tan Sei Hon is a talented singer-songwriter who sounds (I think) like Cat Stevens in the early days.
I read first. Wasn't sure how much anyone was interested or was prepared to listen to something in English, as a lot of the "audience" had really come to sit down for a while and rest. My piece is a bit from my "novel in progress" (which sshhh has not moved any further since I dumped it in the drawer ... though every time I take it out I keep hoping that divine intervention has sorted out the plot holes for me. ) But I like the part I read, and might rescue it for a short story.
The others read poetry in Malay. Laureate A. Samad Said read from his new collection 68 Soneta Pohon Gingko which he wrote during a stay in Korea. His self-published book, which I bought afterwards, is beautifully produced and contains some of his paintings. (He actually has a booth at the Bookfair and a number of beautiful books on sale.)
I met lots of friends including (beside the other readers) Vovin, Pak Adib, Ted and Lina and made some new ones. Also met up with the daughter of the late Usman Awang, another Malaysian laureate, and came away with a couple of his books. (I've more to blog here another day.)
I was much impressed that after I had pointed out a certain grammar error on the KLIBF posters, someone had painstakingly corrected - well most of them, at least! (A little victory for the Grammar Gestapo?)
Eyeris has a great post about the Bookfair, so please go visit him after this! And Ted documents the Katasuara event much much better than I could have.