Saturday, 18 October 2008

Haruki Murakami: "Something's wrong with this town."

Finally! Something new about Haruki Murakami I can feast my brains on!

He was in Berkley to receive the inaugural Berkley Japan Prize (wtf? I have a feeling they created this one specially for him...) and was kind enough to have a reading and a conversation with the many fans who attended. (The session sold out fast.)

Ben Dooley of The Millions was there and reported back a lot of interesting stuff I still didn't know about the writer, such as Murakami's likening of writing to playing video games: "Writing a story for me is just like playing a video game. I start with a word or idea, then I stick out my hand to catch what's coming next. I'm a player, and at the same time, I'm a programmer. It's kind of like playing chess by yourself. When you're the white player, you don't think about the black player. It's possible, but it's hard. It's kind of schizophrenic."

He also says he doesn't dream the conventional way: "I don't dream. I use my dreams when I write. I dream when I'm awake. That's the job of a novelist. You can dream a dream intentionally. When you're sleeping and you have a nice dream, you're eating or with a woman, you might wake up at the best part. I get to keep dreaming. It's great."

He also drops a small hint of his next novel which might take a long while to reach English readers due to its overwhelming size: "I hope you're not a commuter... The new novel is in the third person, from beginning to end. I need that room, because the story is getting more complicated. I need many perspectives."

Lots more good Murakami trivia when you click the link, like finding out that South of the Border, West of the Sun was born out of a rejected part of the Wind-up Bird Chronicles. Neat.

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Fadli Al-Akiti in The Sun.

My pal, Fadz, who had his second SF novel published earlier this year is featured in The Sun. Congratulations Fadz, and major props to Bissme for writing about a very much disregarded genre in local writing.

As for the novel itself, Saga Horizon is set in a post-apocalyptic world where humans struggle to survive against a never-ending rampaging hoard of robot soldiers. (Think Terminator.)

Haven't finished reading it yet, but so far it's quite an okay read...albeit a little too depressing for me to stomach at the moment. Am in the mood for light and happy lit right now. So sorry Fadz, your review will have to wait :p

Monday, 13 October 2008

MPH-Alliance Bank National Short Story Prize 2009.

Pretty good news for Malaysian writers writing in English!

From Eric:
(27 October 2008 - 31 March 2009)
In Support of Malaysian Writing in English

MPH Group of Companies has collaborated with Alliance Bank Malaysia Bhd as our main sponsor and the Malay Mail as our official media partner to create a national short story prize in support of the arts and to encourage Malaysian writers to showcase their literary talents. The Prize is also supported by the Reader’s Digest, Seventeen Malaysia, Discovery Channel Magazine, The British Council, the National Library of Malaysia and the Ministry of Culture, Arts and Heritage.

We aim to promote the following objectives through the administering of the Prize:
  • To encourage reading and writing in the English language;
  • To recognise new writers and give them increased confidence to pursue writing as a career;
  • To make more widely known the work of rising literary talents;
  • To encourage more people to write about their lives in Malaysia; and
  • To highlight a diversity of cultures, voices and viewpoints
We hope that the creation and administration of a short story competition with substantial prizes, courtesy of Alliance Bank, will help foster talented Malaysian writers to move on to publishing books of their own. It is also a platform to encourage Malaysians to write about their lives in Malaysia, overcoming ethnic, linguistic and cultural differences through the common language of English.

The competition is divided into two categories: adults and teens. There is no specific theme for the adults category; for teens, the theme is ‘Staying and Leaving.’ The Prize is open to Malaysian nationals and residents only. The word count for the adults category is from 2,500 to 7,000 words and 2,000 to 4,000 for the teens category. Stories must be previously unpublished and each writer is only allowed to submit a maximum of two entries.

MPH as administrators of the Prize will select a longlist from the entries received, from which the judges will select a shortlist of six stories. The winner of the adult category will receive RM5,000 cash, a laptop and magazine subscriptions; the other five shortlisted entries will each receive a laptop and magazine subscriptions. The winner of the teens category will receive RM2,000 cash, a subnotebook and magazine subscriptions; the other five shortlisted entries will each receive a subnotebook and magazine subscriptions.

Entry forms are available at all MPH outlets and in MPH Quill and can be downloaded from www.mphonline.com. The competition is free for MRC members and Alliance Bank cardholders; otherwise, a minimum purchase of RM10 from any MPH bookstores is required. Entries are to be sent by post to MPH Group (M) Sdn Bhd or dropped off at collection boxes in selected MPH outlets. Emailed entries are not accepted.

For full terms and conditions, please log on to:

www.mphonline.com

For other information, please contact:

Ms. Kuah Sze Mei
MPH Group (M) Sdn Bhd
Lot 1, 1st Floor, Bangunan TH
No. 5, Jalan Bersatu, Section 13/4
Petaling Jaya, Selangor
MALAYSIA
E: szemei@mph.com.my
T: 03-7960 7334

Mr. Eric Forbes
MPH Group Publishing Sdn Bhd
E: mphpublishing@mph.com.my
T: 03-7960 7334

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Blip.

Am having net problems, so won't be blogging until my ISP gets its priorities right.

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