Japanese novelist Minae Mizumura, acclaimed for her daring experiments and skillful storytelling, and Eka Kurniawan, star of Indonesian literature who was shortlisted for the 2016 Man Booker Prize for her novel Lelaki Harimau (Tiger man), are two headliners at this year’s online edition of the George Town Literary Festival, which runs November 25-28.
Other international highlights of this free literary festival include German poet Jan Wagner, Canadian writer Souvankham Thammavongsa, New Zealand novelist Tina Makereti, Indian writer Meena Kandasamy and Kenyan-American writer Mukoma Wa Ngugi . Notable Malaysian names include writer and social activist Marina Mahathir, writer Sabahan Ruhaini Matdarin, Malaysian-Tamil writer M. Navin, and actor Wan Hanafi Su.
Theme of the George Town Literary Festival (GTLF) for 2021, Mikro-cosmos, explores the spirit of cosmopolitanism and the interdependence that endures through literature, language and ideas.
“From the mundane realm to the cosmological imagination, GTLF 2021: Mikro-cosmos will explore how the wilderness and the freedom of our shared creativity are encapsulated and expressed in the various literatures of our region and beyond. dark internationalism and power like colonialism, imperialism and extremism ”, underlines a statement of the GTLF.
The festival is led by Pauline Fan and organized by Izzuddin Ramli, two household names in literary, cultural and translation circles.
The final lineup for GTLF 2021 will be announced soon, with more than 70 writers and thinkers ready to participate. Due to pandemic considerations, GTLF will again offer virtual programming, including podcasts and videos organized in English and Bahasa Malay.
Last year’s virtual edition of GTLF drew 11,513 online participants from 21 countries.
‘Divine Comedy’ and more
A tribute to one of the titans of world literature is also in the spotlight at GTLF.
Dante Alighieri is known as the author of the Divine comedy and as the father of the Italian language. GTLF will honor the great Italian poet, marking the 700th anniversary of his passing by celebrating his life and work.
In collaboration with the Italian Embassy, GTLF will present a virtual discussion on Dante with Italian literature professor Giuliana Nuvoli and Italian-based Malaysian writer Masturah Alatas, as well as a conversation with renowned Italian-British author and translator Tim Parks.
The festival also collaborates with the independent Svara journal to produce a special publication called Muara to mark a decade of GTLF. Taking its name from the word Bahasa Malaysia for estuary, Muara will include essays, lectures, short stories, poetry, book reviews and translations. The book, featuring a worldwide distribution of writers, will launch at GTLF.
A series of small hybrid GTLF onsite events – from book launches to storytelling sessions – will take place November 27-28 in George Town.
The GTLF, which was established in 2011, is supported by the government of Penang State.
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