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Showing posts from January, 2008

Two Authors: How to Write a Novel

Jeff Vandermeer, author of City of Saints and Madmen and Veniss Underground, on how to write a novel in two months:
Make sure you support your efforts with sound lifestyle choices. I have to admit I exercised less and drank more during the two months than is normal for me. However, I still managed to exercise intensely for two-to-three hours three to four times a week and limited the drinking to a couple of drinks a day most of the time. Eating healthy also helped keep my energy level up. This is important, because you’re doing a lot more typing and longhand writing per day than you normally would, and you have to make it count more, as well. He should know since he just finished his marathon writing session of a Predator novel.

But if you want your novel-writing experience to be a little more relaxed, take some advice from David Louis Edelman, author of InfoQuake and Multireal:
Persevere. Many young writers get the idea in college that the Muse is supposed to beam you perfectly formed se…

Launching of New Malaysian Essays 1

He read a whole book! Like, totally!

Those crazy Americans! One of them recently attempted to read a book and actually finished it:
Meyer, who never once jumped ahead to see what would happen and avoided skimming large passages of text in search of pictures, first began his oddball feat a week ago. Three days later, the eccentric Midwesterner was still at it, completing chapter after chapter, seemingly of his own free will.

"The whole thing was really engrossing," said Meyer, referring not to a movie, video game, or competitive sports match, but rather a full-length, 288-page novel filled entirely with words. "There were days when I had a hard time putting it down."

Even more bizarre, Meyer is believed to have done most of his reading during his spare time—time when the outwardly healthy and stable resident could have literally been doing anything else, be it aimlessly surfing the Internet, taking a nap, or simply just staring at his bedroom wall.

"It'd be nice to read it again at some point,&quo…

Readings@Seksan's January 2008.

This month's edition of Readings was special because it was its third birthday since Bernice Chauly started the first session at NoBlackTie.

First to read was Shih-Li Kow, reading the title story in Silverfish's latest short story compilation, News From Home.

Then Tunku Halim took the mic and read a story from The Gravedigger's Kiss and Other Stories. Notice how he looks creepy in the photo below. Look at how Sharon Bakar shivers at his very presence! (And he wasn't even wearing his fedora!)

Bernice Chauly read several poems from her latest book, Book of Sins, which incidentally was launched at the same event.

During the break, Sharon and Bernice blew the candles on the birthday cake. Happy Birthday, Readings! Lepas itu, kita makan kek sesama diri!

After the break, Chuah Kok Yee proceeded to read his version of "The Three Little Pigs" which was also published in News From Home.

Chuah Guat Eng read excerpts from three of her short stories, which are featured in her …

Third Anniversary for Readings@Seksan's

Kata-Suara January 08

A bit late on this, I know, but crazy things have been happening in my life lately, and it didn't just include my honourable prime minister announcing another day of holiday especially for me. Wow! He must've known how tired and ragged I've been feeling!

So! Last Saturday, RA Fine Arts Gallery held a spoken word event of their own, called "Kata-Suara", which is a neat riff on "spoken word".

First to read was Fazli Ibrahim, who read a travelogue of his which was published in a 2006 anthology of writing, KataHati.

Then Pat Low took the mic and read a poem, as well as a monologue, The Tallest Durian Tower in the World (or something like that, I didn't take any notes). But if you've heard her read at Seksan's, you've heard the monologue before. But previous knowledge of the monologue did not hurt my enjoyability of it; I still found it funny and meaningful.

Next up was poet extraordinaire, Rahmat Haron, who proceeded to surprise the audience wit…

Hey people! Come hear me read something.

KATA-SUARA

featuring

SN A. Samad Said
Rahmat Haron
Ted Mahsun
Tan Sei Hon
Haris Zulkapli
Patricia Low
Nazmi Yaakob

Date: Saturday, 19th January 2008
Time: 3pm
Venue: RA Fine Arts, 6 Jalan Aman off Jalan Tun Razak (Google Map link), (wikimapia link)

Food and Drinks Provided. Admission Free.

UPDATE: Have changed the map link to Google Maps which is more reliable.

Greatest British Writers Since 1945

The Times recently announced their list of 50 greatest British writers since 1945. I'm putting the list here to check how many I've read, heard of, or have their books lying around but not read.

Key:

Read: In Bold
Heard of: In Italic
Own their books, but unread: In Red

1. Philip Larkin

2. George Orwell

3. William Golding

4. Ted Hughes

5. Doris Lessing

6. J. R. R. Tolkien

7. V. S. Naipaul

8. Muriel Spark

9. Kingsley Amis

10. Angela Carter

11. C. S. Lewis

12. Iris Murdoch

13. Salman Rusdie

14. Ian Fleming

15. Jan Morris

16. Roald Dahl

17. Anthony Burgess

18. Mervyn Peake

19. Martin Amis

20. Anthony Powell

21. Alan Sillitoe

22. John Le Carré

23. Penelope Fitzgerald

24. Philippa Pearce

25. Barbara Pym

26. Beryl Bainbridge

27. J. G. Ballard

28. Alan Garner

29. Alasdair Gray

30. John Fowles

31. Derek Walcott

32. Kazuo Ishiguro

33. Anita Brookner

34. A. S. Byatt

35. Ian McEwan

36. Geoffrey Hill

37. Hanif Kureshi

38. Iain Banks

39. George Mackay Brown

40. A. J. P. Taylor

41. Isaiah Berlin

42. J. K. Rowling

43. Philip Pullman

44. Ju…

Thoughts on J.G. Ballard's Wind From Nowhere.

The Malaysian sf lover must consider Payless a godsend. I know I do. Enter any branch and most likely there's a good selection of classic sf for fantastically cheap prices. The better ones (my personal faves are the ones at 1U1, Summit USJ and Amcorp Mall) might even harbour some rare classics. So it was that I when I was digging around in the sf section of the Payless in Summit USJ, I chanced upon J.G. Ballard's Wind From Nowhere.

There's an interesting story behind this book. It's actually Ballard's first published novel, but you'd never know that from the officially endorsed bibliographies or even the interviews with him. Written in a scant two weeks (take that Nanowrimo!), The Wind From Nowhere was his attempt to become a published writer. It succeeded and he soon followed it with his now classic, The Drowned World. Since then however, Ballard has disowned it, calling it a mere hackjob.

I did not know this before I read it. I only knew of Ballard from his sho…