George Town Literary Festival > Writers

AC Grayling

AC Grayling is the Master of the New College of the Humanities, London, and its Professor of Philosophy, and the author of over thirty books of philosophy, biography, history of ideas, and essays. He is a columnist for Prospect magazine, and was for a number of years a columnist on the Guardian and Times. He has contributed to many leading newspapers in the UK, US and Australia, and to BBC radios 4, 3, 2 and the World Service, for which he did the annual Exchanges at the Frontier series; and he has often appeared on television. He has twice been a judge on the Booker Prize, in 2015 serving as the Chair of the judging panel. He is a Vice President of the British Humanist Association, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.
AC Grayling is supported by the British Council and New College of the Humanities.

Adriaan van Dis

Adriaan van Dis is an acclaimed Dutch novelist, playwright, documentary-maker and poet. Raised in a family that was part Dutch and part Indo-European in Indonesia, his work deals with themes of identity, race and the trauma of war. He made his literary debut in 1983 with the highly successful novella, Nathan Sid. After several works of travel fiction including The Promised Land (1990) and In Africa (1991), his breakthrough came with the publication Indische duinen (My Father’s War, 1994), about the son of an Indonesian family, born in the Netherlands and raised in an atmosphere of silenced grief. In 2014, he published Ik kom terug (I Will Return), an autobiographical novel about his complicated relationship with his mother, who was willing to tell him her life story in exchange for a gentle death. The novel won the Libris Prize for Best Book of the Year in 2015 and in early 2016, he received the prestigious Constantijn Huygens Prize for his body of work.
Adriaan van Dis is supported by the Embassy of the Kingdom of Netherlands.

Amanda Lee Koe

Amanda Lee Koe is the fiction editor of Esquire (Singapore), editor of essay platform Poskod.sg, and a 2013 Honorary Fellow of the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa. She is the youngest winner of the Singapore Literature Prize for the short story collection Ministry of Moral Panic, which was long listed for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award. Her work has appeared in e-flux's Art Agenda, Asymptote, Guernica Daily, Asia Literary Review, Manifesta Journal #18, and she has been translated into German. Based between Singapore and New York, she is working on her first novel.

Amir Muhammad

Amir Muhammad is a film-maker, writer and publisher. As a writer, his books include 120 Malay Movies (2010) and Yasmin Ahmad's Films (2010). He founded the publishing houses Matahari Books in 2007 and Buku Fixi in 2011. The latter has published over 150 titles in Malay and English, specialising in original edgy, urban fiction. Buku Fixi won The Bookseller International Adult Trade Publisher Award at the 2014 London Book Fair. Under the Fixi Verso imprint, he has ventured into literary translation, with Malay-language versions of work by renowned authors such Neil Gaiman, Stephen King, John Green, Haruki Murakami and others. A translated anthology, Malay Pulp Fiction, is on the cards for release in London in 2017.
Amir Muhammad is supported by Penang Institute.

A.S. Hardy Shafii

A.S. Hardy Shafii trained in acting at Goldsmiths College, University of London where he obtained his MA degree in Performance Studies, and he completed his PhD in 2004 at the School of the Arts, Universiti Sains Malaysia. His most recent work Makyung: Perspectives on Malaysia’s Traditional Theatre (Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka) was published in 2015. As a theatre director, he has directed different genres ranging from the absurd It is Not A Suicide (Vietnam, 2013), Hamlet (Penang, 2014), the traditional theatre Boria Jawi Peranakan (2014), the experimental play Reflections On Another (Shanghai, 2014) to The Sound of Silence (Singapore, 2015 and New Delhi, 2016). Currently, he is the Deputy Dean of Research, Graduates & Linkages at the School of the Arts, Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM).
A.S. Hardy Shafii is supported by Gerakbudaya Bookshop.

Ayu Utami

Ayu Utami is an award-winning Indonesian writer who was a laureate of the 2000 Prince Claus Awards. During Indonesia's military regime, she was a journalist and press freedom activist. She was one of the founders of The Alliance of Independent Journalists, an organisation that was later banned by the Suharto government. After the political change, she focused on writing novels. Her first novel, Saman (1998) won the 1st prize at the Jakarta Arts Council Novel Competition. In 2008, Utami published Pengadilan Susila (Susila's Trial), based on her play Sidang Susila co-authored by veteran playwright Agus Noor. Her stories reflect Indonesian society and the country's political situation in what she calls “critical spiritualism”. She is also the Director of the Salihara Literary Biennale in Komunitas Salihara, an independent art centre in Jakarta.

Bruce Humes

Bruce Humes is a Chinese-to-English literary translator. After cutting his teeth on French in Paris, he studied Modern Chinese at university to acquire the tools he’d need to do his own research. Keen to experience ‘socialism with Chinese characteristics’, he first took a detour to Taipei and Hong Kong and went on to reside in Shanghai, Kunming and Shenzhen. Initially, he launched magazines and websites for Chinese business people, but later decided to go in the opposite direction – by introducing China to the outside world. His translations include the bestseller Shanghai Baby by Wei Hui (2001), several coffee-table tomes on ancient Chinese costumes, painting and tea, and Chi Zijian’s Last Quarter of the Moon (2014). Bruce’s blog Altaic Storytelling focuses on writing by Altaic peoples from Anatolia to Siberia.
Bruce Humes is supported by Gerakbudaya Bookshop.

Chiew Ruoh Peng

Chiew Ruoh Peng is a Malaysian poet who has won several literary awards including Hua Zong Literary Award (Malaysia), Hai-O Literary Award (Malaysia) and Outstanding Young Poet Award (Taiwan). Three collections of his work have been published under the titles Lovesick, Speedread and Vanilla. He is a columnist for China Press (Malaysia) and is also a spoken word poet and performer.

Chris Keulemans

Chris Keulemans was born in Tunisia, grew up in Indonesia and is a travelling writer and journalist, based in Amsterdam. He has published six books of fiction and non-fiction and many articles on literature, war, cinema, refugees, design, cities and migration. His work has been translated into English, Spanish, Polish, Bahasa Indonesia, Bosnian and more. His novel A Short Walk in the Hills was longlisted for the Dutch National Book Award in 1994. He was the director of De Balie, centre for arts and politics, and the founder of arts centre Tolhuistuin, both in Amsterdam. As a moderator, he has worked in the Netherlands, Belgium, Poland, US, Spain, Slovakia and elsewhere.

Dain Iskandar Said

Dain Iskandar Said studied film in London and has worked with images for almost 30 years, concentrating on feature films, documentaries and video installations. His work has been showcased at the Sydney Biennale and the Burj Al Arab. His film Bunohan won international acclaim, and his latest feature Interchange was the first Malaysian film to be shown at the Piazza Grande at this year’s Locarno International Film Festival. Interchange is one of the most anticipated Malaysian films of 2017 and will also be screened at festivals in Toronto, London, Barcelona and Singapore.

Daphne Marlatt

Born in Australia, Vancouver poet Daphne Marlatt immigrated to Canada from Penang, Malaysia as a child in 1951. She is a critically-acclaimed poet and novelist whose cross-genre work has been translated into French and Dutch. The bicultural production of her Canadian Noh play, The Gull, received the 2008 International Uchimura Naoya Prize. Her novelistic long poem, The Given, won the 2009 Dorothy Livesay Award. In 2012, she was awarded the George Woodcock Lifetime Achievement Award. Her most recent poetry titles are Liquidities: Vancouver Poems Then and Now (2013), selected poetry titled Rivering: The Poetry of Daphne Marlatt (2014) edited by Susan Knutson, and Reading Sveva (forthcoming, 2016).
Daphne Marlatt is supported by Canada Council for the Arts.

Dina Zaman

Dina Zaman has been writing for the Malaysian media since 1994. In her early years as a writer, she was known for her poetry and fiction, play and broadcast writing. In 2005, she worked for Malaysiakini.com, and began writing a column which became the best-selling book, I Am Muslim (Silverfish, 2007). Over the past decade she has been writing about Muslim life and religion in the public sphere. Her latest book, King of the Sea (Silverfish, 2012), was longlisted for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award. She was also an Asian Public Intellectual Fellow (2012–2013), during which she produced the essay, Two Families: A Comparative Study of the Influences of Saints and Their Teachings on Faith in Malaysia and Indonesia. Her passion and curiosity about society, religion and perception led her to co-found IMAN Research in 2015.
Dina Zaman is supported by Gerakbudaya Bookshop.

Eddin Khoo

Eddin Khoo is a poet, writer, translator, journalist and teacher. He is the founder of Pusaka, one of the region's leading cultural centres, and the publishing house Kala, which devotes itself to publishing literary translations from the world's languages into Malay. He has worked intimately with Malaysia's custodians of the traditional and ritual arts including shadow puppeteers, musicians, dramatists and dancers. In recognition of his work in culture, Eddin was selected as one of the Asians of the Year 2006 by Channel News Asia, Singapore. He is the co-author of a study on traditional Malay woodcarving The Spirit of Wood (2003), and has translated the Indonesian poet Goenawan Mohamad and the Malaysian poet Latiff Mohidin into English and will publish his Malay translation of Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass in 2016.
Eddin Khoo is supported by Penang Institute.

Faisal Tehrani

The prolific scholar, human rights activist and novelist Faisal Tehrani is a controversial figure in his home country of Malaysia. Six out of his 23 literary works have been banned by the Malaysian government. Among his literary works highlighting human rights are Homosektual, and Seorang Muslim Seorang Lutheran (A Muslim, A Lutheran, 2015). In 2016, Tehrani also published a book for children focusing on Article 1 and 2 (UDHR1948) entitled Advencer Yaya dan Fufu Book 1: Jangan Cakap Begitu. His 23rd novel, Bagaimana Anyss Naik Ke Langit (How Anyss Went to Heaven), is a story about a human rights activist who is murdered for trying to expose the systematic rape committed against the indigenous Penan women in the state of Sarawak, Malaysia.

Ghayath Almadhoun

Syrian poet Ghayath Almadhoun was born in a refugee camp in Damascus, the child of a Palestinian father and a Syrian mother. He studied Arabic literature at the University of Damascus and made his debut in 2004 with the collection Qasaed sakatat sahwan (Unintentional poems). In 2008 he moved to Stockholm, where he sought political asylum. In Sweden, he published two poetry collections, of which the second, Till Damaskus, was written with the Swedish poet Marie Silkeberg. With Silkeberg, they collaborated on poetry films on topics, which include the attacks in Gaza. In his poems, Almadhoun describes the experiences of asylum seekers, homesickness for a homeland, and the guilt of a young intellectual who has abandoned his native country. In 2012 he was awarded the Klas de Vylders prize by the Swedish Writers Union. His most recent collection, La astatee alhoudour (I Cannot Be Present) was published in 2014.

James Scudamore

James Scudamore is the author of the novels Wreaking, Heliopolis, and The Amnesia Clinic. He has received the Somerset Maugham Award and been nominated for many other prizes, including the Costa First Novel Award, the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, the Dylan Thomas Prize and the Man Booker Prize. He has held teaching positions at the University of East Anglia, the City University of Hong Kong and on the Guardian / UEA Masterclass scheme.
James Scudamore is supported by the British Council.

Jérôme Bouchaud

Jérôme Bouchaud is a writer, literary translator and publisher. He has been living in Asia for the past 14 years and made Malaysia home nine years ago. He has written numerous travel books and translated a few novels, short stories and poems from English to French. He currently curates Lettres de Malaisie a French-language webzine dedicated to literature from and about Malaysia. He is also the founder of Editions Jentayu, a small publishing venture focusing on Pan-Asian literature and literary translation. Its main publication is the eponymous Jentayu Review, a biannual literary review dedicated to writings from Asia translated into French, with four issues released so far. Jérôme's latest book is Langkawi Style (The Lemongrass, 2015), a tribute to Langkawi's craftsmakers and artists, with photographs by George Town-based photographer Howard Tan.
Jérôme Bouchaud is supported by Gerakbudaya Bookshop.

Karim Raslan

Karim Raslan is an acclaimed Southeast Asian writer. A graduate of the University of Cambridge, he has developed a deep understanding of politics, society and business across Southeast Asia. His columns from his multimedia initiative, Ceritalah ASEAN, which discusses socio-political developments and current issues in the region, are syndicated in Indonesia (Kompas.com), Singapore (the Straits Times), Malaysia [Astro Awani (in English and Malay) and Sin Chew], the Philippines (ABS-CBN), Vietnam (Vietnamnet), Thailand (Post Today), Myanmar (Irrawaddy) and Hong Kong (South China Morning Post). He is the author of five books, Ceritalah: Malaysia in Transition, Heroes and Other Stories, Ceritalah 2: Journeys through Southeast Asia and Ceritalah 3: Malaysia the Dream Deferred as well as his first Bahasa Indonesia-language book, Ceritalah Indonesia. Karim also helmed two well-received documentaries: Ceritalah Malaysia (2013) and Ceritalah Indonesia (2014).

Laurel Fantauzzo

Laurel Fantauzzo grew up in California with a Filipina mother and an Italian American father. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Esquire Philippines, and The Rumpus. She received her Master of Fine Arts in Nonfiction Writing at the University of Iowa, and she has earned grants and residencies from Erasmus, Fulbright, and Hedgebrook. Her debut nonfiction book The First Impulse (Anvil Publishing, 2016) explores a love story and a mystery in Metro Manila. She is represented by Writers' House in New York City and teaches at Yale-NUS College. She lives between Singapore and Quezon City, Philippines.

Mahesh Dattani

Mahesh Dattani is an acclaimed playwright, stage director, screen writer and filmmaker from India. In 1998, he won the prestigious central Sahitya Akademi Award, the highest award for a literary work in India for his book Final Solutions and Other Plays. His plays are produced in all the major cities of India and have been produced in the UK, USA, Australia, Sri Lanka, Canada and the UAE. His film Mango Souffle, which he wrote and directed, won Best Picture at the Barcelona Film Festival (2003). Where Did I Leave My Purdah and Gauhar are his most recent works as a playwright, both directed by Lillete Dubey of The Prime Time Theatre Company, Mumbai. Most recently, he directed his plays 30 Days in September and The Big Fat City on film for Zee Theatre Productions. He lives in Mumbai.
Mahesh Dattani is supported by University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus and Maya Press.

Manal Younus

Manal Younus is a South Australian-based spoken word poet who believes that story telling is the most powerful tool one can own. The two-time Australian poetry slam national finalist performed for the first time when she was 15, and as a young Muslim woman with Eritrean origins, she uses stories to both explore and create her identity while causing conversations to empower young people, particularly those from minority groups. Outside of the literary world, Manal works in theatre and community arts directly engaging in the development of other writers and creatives. After self-publishing her first collection of poetry titled Reap, Manal has toured across the country performing her work.
Manal Younus is supported by SA Writers Centre in South Australia.

Melizarani T.Selva

Melizarani T. Selva is a spoken word poet, educator, journalist and author of Taboo. As the only Malaysian to speak at Asia’s largest TEDx event, TEDxGateway (Mumbai), she has also won first runner up at both The National Singapore Slam and Ubud Writers and Readers Festival 2014 slam. To date, her poems have seen prominent stages including ASEAN Poetry Recitation, Cri de Femme International Poetry Festival in New Delhi and various events in six countries. Published by Perfect Binding Press, her first book titled Taboo (2015) made the MPH Top 10 Best-Seller list. Her poems have also been translated into Bahasa Malaysia and published by Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka. She currently organises Kuala Lumpur's only monthly poetry open mic, If Walls Could Talk, a poetry workshop series Poets in Progress and a bilingual poetry slam event, Slamokrasi.

Muhammad Haji Salleh

Muhammad Haji Salleh is an acclaimed Malaysian poet, critic, translator, editor and Professor of Literature who has published over 35 books in both Malay and English. He has published 14 books of poems, including Sajak-sajak Pendatang (Poems of the Outsider, 1973), Buku Perjalanan Si Tenggang II (1977), Travel Journals of Si Tenggang II (1979), Time and its People (1978), Beyond the Archipelago (1995), Sebuah Unggun di Tepi Danau (A Campfire by the Lake, 1996), Aksara Usia (The Alphabet of Time, 1996), and Rowing Down Two Rivers (1999). Muhammad has won many national prizes for his poetry and criticism/theory, and was named National Laureate of Malaysia in 1991. Among his international awards are the ASEAN Literary Award 1977, S.E.A. Write Award 1997, and MASTERA (Southeast Asia Literary Council) Award 2001. He is now Professor Emeritus at the Science University of Malaysia.
Muhammad Haji Salleh is supported by Gerakbudaya Bookshop.

Nadira Ilana

Nadira Ilana is an independent filmmaker and writer from Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. She has directed, written and produced several short films and documentaries including Dream Cradle and Lastik: Once Upon a Time in the East for Astro and Red Communications. She is best known for her political-historical documentary The Silent Riot, which was awarded Best Human Rights Documentary at the Freedom Film Festival 2012. In 2016, Nadira completed a film residency as part of Big Stories, Small Towns, an internationally acclaimed new media micro-documentary series from Australia. She is currently in development for her first feature film titled Wilderness, set in her coastal hometown.

Nandita Solomon

Nandita Solomon is a Malaysian film producer and co-founder of independent film production company, Apparat, with director Dain Iskandar Said. She produced and co-wrote Apparat’s first production, the documentary Fish Listeners of Setiu Lagoon. Subsequently, she produced Bunohan (2011), which had its world premier at the Toronto International Film Festival, and went on to screen at various festivals around the world. Bunohan is one of a handful of Malaysian films to secure international distribution and was Malaysia’s second-ever submission for the Academy Awards Best Foreign Language Film category. She also produced Interchange (2016), Said’s latest film that recently had its world premiere at the 2016 Locarno International Film Festival. Developing a script is one of her favourite phases in the making of a film.

Nathalie Handal

Nathalie Handal was raised in Latin America, France and the Arab world, and educated in the United States and United Kingdom. Her recent books include the flash collection The Republics, lauded as “one of the most inventive books by one of today’s most diverse writers” and winner of the Virginia Faulkner Award for Excellence in Writing; the bestselling The Invisible Star; the critically acclaimed Poet in Andalucía; and Love and Strange Horses, winner of the Gold Medal Independent Publisher Book Award, which The New York Times says is “a book that trembles with belonging (and longing).” Handal is a Lannan Foundation Fellow, Centro Andaluz de las Letras Fellow, Fondazione di Venezia Fellow, and winner of the Alejo Zuloaga Order in Literature, among other honors. Based in New York and Paris, she is a professor at Columbia University, and writes the literary travel column The City and is a writer for Words without Borders.

Nicholas Wong

Nicholas Wong is the author of Crevasse (Kaya Press), winner of the 28th Lambda Literary Award in Gay Poetry. He teaches at Education at the University of Hong Kong, and is the Vice President of PEN Hong Kong.

Olga Martynova

Olga Martynova was born in 1962 in Dudinka, Krasnoyarsk Krai in Russia. She is a Russian-German writer; she writes poems in Russian, prose and essays in German. She grew up in Leningrad and lives in Frankfurt. She was awarded the Hubert Burda Prize for poets from Eastern, Southern and Central Europe in 2000, the Roswitha von Gandersheim Prize in 2011 and the Adelbert von Chamisso Promotion Prize in 2011. Her novel Sogar Papageien überleben uns (Even Parrots Survive Us) was on the shortlist of the aspekte Prize and on the longlist of the German Book Prize in 2010. She won the Ingeborg Bachmann Prize (2012) with a chapter of her novel Mörikes Schlüsselbein (Moerike’s Collarbone) and the Prize for Literature of Berlin (2015).
Olga Martynova is supported by the Goethe-Institut.

Pauline Fan

Pauline Fan is a writer and literary translator from Malaysia, and presently serves as Creative Director of the cultural heritage organisation, PUSAKA. Her translations from German to Malay include works by Bertolt Brecht, Immanuel Kant, G.E. Lessing and Franz Kafka. Her Malay translation of Lessing’s Die Ringparabel was published by the Lessing-Akademie in Germany. She is currently completing Malay translations of the poetry of Paul Celan and the letters of Rainer Maria Rilke. Her translations and essays have appeared in Inventory, Princeton University’s journal on literary translation; Orientierungen, Bonn University’s journal of Asian culture; Zeitzug, a Central European online journal; Axon: Creative Explorations; and the Malay-language journal, Obscura: Merapat Renggang. Pauline is a contributor for the New Straits Times and Malaysiakini.com. She is the Malaysian coordinator for Lyrikline, a Berlin-based international poetry network and archive. She holds a Masters in Modern German Literature from Oxford University.
Pauline Fan is supported by Gerakbudaya Bookshop.

Pablo Jofré

Berlin-based Chilean poet Pablo Jofré has published the poetry collections Usted (2013) and Abecedario (2015). Together with musician Andi Meißner, he leads the poetry rock and pop duo Jofre Meissner Project. In June 2012, his poem The Light Age (Extranjería) was included in the Bombing of Poems event (Casagrande-Southbank Center) over the Jubilee Garden in London. In 2016, he won the scholarship of literary creation of the Chilean Ministry of Culture for his poetry project Berlin-Manila (2017). Pablo has won numerous awards, including the first prize at the Sant Andreu de la Barca Competition (in Spain) for his poem La Danza De La Existencia in 2010 and the Honorable Mention prize of the Chilean National Contest of Literature Gabriela Mistral for his book Abecedario in 2009. He is currently working on the poetry collection Extranjería (Ediciones Bizarras, Guatemala 2016) and translations from Abecedario in Russian, English, German, Italian and Mandarin.
Pablo Jofré is supported by the Senate Chancellary of Berlin.

Prabda Yoon

Prabda Yoon is a writer, translator and publisher in Bangkok, Thailand. He won the S.E.A. Write Award for the story collection Kwam Na Ja Pen in 2002. A new collection of his stories will be published in English in the UK in early 2017. Motel Mist, which he wrote and directed, premiered at the International Film Festival Rotterdam 2016 and was in competition for the Hivos Tiger Awards.

Robert Dessaix

Robert Dessaix is a writer, translator and broadcaster whose best-known books are the autobiography A Mother’s Disgrace, the novels Night Letters and Corfu, and the travel memoirs Twilight of Love and Arabesques. From 1985 to 1995, after teaching Russian language and literature for many years at the Australian National University and the University of New South Wales, he presented the weekly Books and Writing program on ABC Radio National. He has also published translations of works by Dostoyevsky, Turgenev and a number of Russian poets, and his translations with Aubrey Mellor of plays by Anton Chekhov have been produced in theatres around Australia. His most recent publications are his essay collection As I Was Saying (presently being translated into Malay) and his memoir What Days Are For. He lives in Hobart, Tasmania.
Robert Dessaix is supported by Arts Tasmania.

Stefan Hertmans

Stefan Hertmans is a Flemish Belgian writer, author of a vast literary and essayist oeuvre, which has won numerous prizes. His last novel, War and Turpentine, is an internationally-acclaimed bestseller. His essays are mostly concerned with the place of arts in today’s democratic society. Previously he was Professor of Art Criticism, Agogics and Text Analysis at the University College Ghent. He has engaged intensely in the debates following the terrorist attacks in Brussels on 22 March and has recently written a short play Antigone in Molenbeek which was performed at the Amsterdam Forum Re:creating Europe in June 2016. His concern for the arts as the most outstanding form to convey human rights in times of political and cultural crisis, and his strong personal engagement, triggered his invitation to the Fundamental Rights Forum in Vienna.
Stefan Hertmans is supported by the Embassy of Belgium in Malaysia.

Stephen James Smith

Stephen James Smith is a Dublin poet and playwright central to the rise of the vibrant spoken word genre in Ireland today. A prolific performer, Stephen has appeared on stages around the globe, most notably with musician Glen Hansard at the London Palladium and the National Concert Hall in Dublin; as well as appearances at Irish festivals such as Dublin Writers’ Festival, Cúirt International Literary Festival, The Electric Picnic and Dublin Fringe Festival. His recently commissioned poem Dublin You Are amassed over 300,000 views and in 2012 he was invited to perform for the Irish Olympic team in London. Stephen's work has been translated into Irish, Spanish, Slovenian, Polish, Dutch and Italian. His poetry videos have been screened at film festivals around the world and he has featured in numerous TV programmes such as RTÉ’s IFTA Award Winning documentary WB Yeats: No Country for Old Men.
Stephen James Smith is supported by Culture Ireland.

Tash Aw

Tash Aw was born in Taipei to Malaysian parents. He grew up in Kuala Lumpur and attended university in the UK. His work has been translated into 23 languages and has twice been longlisted for the Booker Prize. His debut novel, The Harmony Silk Factory won the Whitbread First Novel Award in 2005.
Tash Aw is supported by the Singapore Writers Festival

Tishani Doshi

Tishani Doshi is an award-winning writer and dancer of Welsh-Gujarati descent. Born in Madras, India, in 1975, she received a Masters in Writing from the John Hopkins University, and worked in London in advertising before returning to India in 2001, where a chance encounter with the legendary choreographer Chandralekha led her to an unexpected career in dance. She has published five books of fiction and poetry, the most recent of which is The Adulterous Citizen (poems, stories, essays). Doshi has won the Forward Poetry Prize for best first collection and the All-India Poetry Prize, and her work has been translated into several languages. She currently lives on a beach in Tamil Nadu.
Tishani Doshi is supported by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations.

Wojciech Tochman

Wojciech Tochman, born in 1969 in Krakow, Poland, is a non-fiction writer and contributor to the daily, Gazeta Wyborcza, and one of the most widely translated non-fiction Polish authors. His books have been published (among others) into English, French, Italian, Russian, Dutch. With Like Eating a Stone (2002), about post-war Bosnia and Herzegovina, Tochman was a finalist for the Nike Literary Prize and for the Prix Témoin du Monde, awarded by the Radio France International. His two other books, Today We're Going to Draw Death (2010) portrays the scars of the Rwandan genocide that can still be found today and Eli, Eli (2013) is about poverty and tourism in Philippines. He is also the co-author of The Caravan – a non-fiction piece about Syrian refugees in Jordan. He is the director the Polish Institute of Reportage. He lives in Warsaw.

Zainah Anwar

Zainah Anwar is the co-founder of two ground-breaking women's rights groups, Sisters in Islam in Malaysia and Musawah, the global movement for equality and justice in the Muslim family. She is a passionate advocate for women's rights in Islam, and argues for the possibility and necessity of equality and justice for women living in Muslim contexts. Her publications include Islamic Revivalism in Malaysia: Dakwah Among the Students and Legacy of Honour. She also writes a monthly column, Sharing the Nation, in the Sunday Star. Zainah has been named by Newsweek and The Daily Beast as one of the 150 women “who shake the world”, and by Women Deliver as one of 100 most inspiring people in championing the rights of women and girls.

Zairil Khir Johari

Zairil Khir Johari was elected as the Member of Parliament for Bukit Bendera, Penang in the 2013 general election. A graduate of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, he is currently the Democratic Action Party’s Assistant Secretary for National Publicity and Vice-Chairman of the party’s Penang State Committee. He is also the Executive Director of the Penang Institute, a state-funded public policy think tank based in Penang. Through his work in Parliament and the Penang Institute, he actively spearheads discussions on issues such as national education, identity politics and federalism. In 2014, Zairil was selected as a Global Leader of Tomorrow by the 44th St Gallen Symposium in Switzerland, an annual conference aimed at fostering inter-generational and inter-cultural dialogue. He is currently pursuing his PhD in political science at Universiti Sains Malaysia and writes extensively. Finding Malaysia: Making Sense of an Eccentric Nation is his first publication.
Zairil Khir Johari is supported by the Penang Institute.


Zishu-Li is a Malaysian novelist. She has won numerous literary awards including the Hua Zong Literary Award (Malaysia), UDN Literary Award (Taiwan) and Chinatimes Literary Award (Taiwan). Her novels have been published in Malaysia, Taiwan and China, these include The Years of Remembrance, Wild Buddha, Gateway to Heaven and The Inevitable Coincidence. She writes prose as well, and two compilations were published with the titles Of Disordered Timeline and The Pause Button. Her work as a columnist for Ming Pao Monthly (Hong Kong) have been compiled and published in into book, Solo.