MPH Quill: The 2008 Ubud Writers and Readers Festival Issue
2008 ubud writers and readers festival
... a feast of literary flavours
I AM AT THE MOMENT editing and putting the final touches to the Ubud issue of Quill magazine, a special 52-page issue of the quarterly for the 2008 Ubud Writers and Readers Festival on October 14-19, 2008, in Bali, Indonesia. There are interviews, features, essays and a short story by Linda Christanty, an Indonesian journalist who also dabbles in short stories. I’m afraid there just aren’t enough pages to put in all that I would like to put in.
There are engaging interviews with Aravind Adiga (The White Tiger: longlisted for the 2008 Man Booker Prize for Fiction); Camilla Gibb (Sweetness in the Belly: 2006 Trillium Book Award); Preeta Samarasan (Evening Is the Whole Day: winner of the Hopwood First Novel Award), Vikram Seth (A Suitable Boy: 1994 Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best Novel), Deepika Shetty, Chiew-Siah Tei (Little Hut of Leaping Fishes: longlisted for the 2007 Man Asian Literary Prize), Alexis Wright (Carpentaria: 2007 Miles Franklin Literary Award), John Berendt (Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil: Pulitzer Prize finalist), and more. There are essays by Matthew Condon (The Trout Opera: shortlisted for the 2008 Christina Stead Prize for Fiction), Tishani Doshi (Countries of the Body: 2006 Forward Poetry Prize for Best First Collection), Camilla Gibb, Jamie James (The Snake Charmer: A Life and Death in Pursuit of Knowledge), Dyah Merta, Preeta Samarasan and Lijia Zhang (“Socialism Is Great!”: A Worker’s Memoir of the New China).
There’s also an interview with Janet De Neefe (Fragrant Rice), the personable founder of the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival, courtesy of Sharon Bakar.
Lots of features, too. Zafar Anjum explores the highways and byways of the Indian publishing world, while Janet Tay looks at what it is like when editors become authors themselves? Do they find difficulty in adjusting when the shoe is on the other foot? She explores the pros and cons of editors-turned-authors being familiar with the publishing industry before publishing their first books with three publishing heavyweights: David Davidar (Penguin Canada), Marie Arana (The Washington Post) and Erica Wagner (The Times). Man Booker Prize-longlisted author of The Gift of Rain, Tan Twan Eng, advises aspiring writers on how to improve their chances of getting an agent and having their manuscript published.
Another highlight is Sharon Bakar’s interview with Preeta Samarasan, the latest Malaysian writer to make it in the international publishing world with her début novel, Evening Is the Whole Day, which has been hailed as “a magical, exuberant tragic-comic vision of postcolonial Malaysia reminiscent of Rushdie and Roy.” I also managed to ask a few writers appearing at the 2008 Ubud Writers and Readers Festival (Matthew Condon, Tishani Doshi, Jamie James, Moni Mohsin and Lijia Zhang) what they read when they are not writing. You will be amazed at and impressed by their revelations. Tan May Lee and I also spoke to Miriam Berkley, the famous New York-based photographer, about authors, books and photography, among other things. Authors tend to be shy and evasive when it comes to having their photographs taken, but an amazing photographer like Berkley manages to capture and elicit the best in her subjects.
This special issue of Quill magazine will only be available at the 2008 Ubud Writers and Readers Festival.
Acknowledgments: Thank you to all authors for their gracious contributions. Thank you to Janet De Neefe, Kadek Krishna Adidharma and Andy Ewing of the 2008 Ubud Writers and Readers Festival for their help in putting the issue together
Photographs from top to bottom: Tishani Doshi, Alexis Wright, Matthew Condon, Tan Twan Eng, Preeta Samarasan, Marie Arana, Erica Wagner, Miriam Berkley, Vikram Seth, Camilla Gibb, Lijia Zhang and Janet De Neefe
Editorial: Eric Forbes, Janet Tay and Tan May Lee
Appreciation: Zafar Anjum, Sharon Bakar and Deepika Shetty