George Town Literary Festival

George Town Literary Festival > George Town Literary Festival

About GTLF

George Town Literary Festival is the only literary festival which is funded by the state government in Malaysia. Celebrating the literary world of poetry, prose and spoken words, the annual state-sponsored festival will host various writers, novelists, spoken word artists and more from diverse writing disciplines.

With its charming colonial architecture, vibrant multicultural community and intangible living heritage, the heritage district of George Town will welcome visitors from around Malaysia and the world for a three-day celebration of poetry, prose and spoken word from 25 to 27 November.

GTLF 2016 will see panel discussions, readings, spoken word performances and film screenings around the festival’s theme; “Hiraeth”, a Welsh word which means “the longing for a homeland that is no longer there”.

GTLF has, over the years, gained a reputation as a literary festival that dares to push the boundary by examining the hard truths of the modern world. This theme captures a universal unrest and longing for a better world in a reality that sees mass displacement of people, gross violations of human rights and growing chasm caused by the proliferation of crippling neoliberalism and regressive ideologies. Our world, or collective homeland, is one that is no longer recognisable.

This year’s keynote address will be delivered by leading Malaysian feminist activist and writer Zainah Anwar, with headlining Malaysian writers including National Laureate of Malaysia Muhammad Haji Salleh, Tash Aw, Faisal Tehrani, Dina Zaman and Karim Raslan.

The stellar line-up of world literary giants and respected social commentators include the eminent British philosopher and author of over 30 books, AC Grayling; one of the most acclaimed voices in Dutch letters, Adriaan van Dis; beloved Indonesian author, Ayu Utami; celebrated Flemish writer Stefan Hertmas; award-winning Indian playwright/filmmaker, Mahesh Dattani; American/Arab writer and poet Natalie Handal; Russian/German writer Olga Martynova, Indian dancer and poet, Tishani Doshi; Thai writer and publisher Prabda Yoon, and many more.

Our moderators include Malaysian authors, academics, editors and critics Umapagan Ampikaipakan, Sharaad Kuttan, Sharon Bakar, Kam Raslan, Ksatriya, Shivani Sivagurunathan, Malachi Edwin Vethamani, Ann Lee, Gareth Richards, Ezra Zaid and Fuad Rahmat along with Lawrence Ypil (Phillippines), Jason Erik Lundberg (Singapore), Sarah Tooth (Australia) and Michael Vatikiotis (Singapore).

GTLF 2016 audiences can also expect book launches, writing workshops in various genres, and dance performances by Penang’s dance maestro Aida Redza and the celebrated Malaysian-born, Vancouver-based Lee Su-Feh.

This year, the festival will introduce a Pop-Up Market that will showcase home-grown entrepreneurs selling gourmet food, artisanal coffee, wine, art and jewellery.