Bernice Chauly

Bernice Chauly is a Malaysian writer, poet, educator and festival director. Born in George Town to Chinese and Punjabi teachers, she read education and English literature in Canada as a government scholar. She is the author of six books of poetry and prose: going there and coming back (1997), The Book of Sins (2008), Lost in KL (2008), Growing Up with Ghosts (2011), which won the Readers’ Choice Awards 2012 in the non-fiction category, and a third collection of poems, Onkalo (2013), described by J.M. Coetzee as ‘direct, honest and powerful’. For 20 years she worked as a multidisciplinary artist and is recognised as one of the most significant voices of her generation. Since 2011 she has served the director of the George Town Literary Festival, shortlisted at the International Excellence Awards at the London Book Fair 2017, and is an Honorary Fellow in Writing from the University of Iowa’s International Writing Program (2014). She currently teaches creative writing at the University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus. She is also the founder and director of the KL Writers Workshop. Her critically acclaimed debut novel, Once We Were There, was published in 2017.


Gareth Richards

A former academic, Gareth Richards is a writer, editor and bookseller. He previously taught Southeast Asian politics and international political economy at Manchester University and at the Asia-Europe Institute, Universiti Malaya. He is the founder-director of Impress Creative & Editorial, a small innovative company involved in diverse areas of the arts and book production, notably consultant editing and translation. He has been the editor for Benedict Anderson, Ien Ang, Tim Bunnell, Chua Beng Huat, Jomo KS, Victor T. King, Anthony Milner, Anthony Reid, Robin Ruizendaal, Saidah Rastam, Tan Sooi Beng and Zawawi Ibrahim, among others. In May 2014 he set up Gerakbudaya Bookshop, Penang, the first independent bookshop in the UNESCO world heritage site of George Town. He is the co-author/editor of Asia–Europe Interregionalism: Critical Perspectives (1999), and wrote the texts for two books of photography, Portraits of Penang: Little India (2011) and Panicrama (2016). He is also a columnist for Penang Monthly. Together with Aida Redza, he is working on a book about the multimedia dance production, Moved By Padi.

Pauline Fan

Pauline Fan is a writer and literary translator from Malaysia, and presently serves as the creative director of the cultural heritage organisation PUSAKA. Her translations from German to Malay include works by Bertolt Brecht, Immanuel Kant and Franz Kafka. Her Malay translation of G.E. 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 work has appeared in Circumference: Poetry in Translation, the literary journal Arkana, Princeton University’s Inventory, Bonn University’s Orientierungen, Axon: Creative Explorations, and the Malay-language journal Obscura: Merapat Renggang. She is the co-editor of the Malaysian bilingual literary journal Naratif | Kisah. She is a literary columnist for Esquire Malaysia and a contributor to the New Straits Times and Malaysiakini (BM). She is the Malaysian coordinator for Lyrikline, a Berlin-based international poetry network and archive.


Hardesh Singh

Hardesh Singh is the founder of PopDigital, a multidisciplinary digital practice with interests in a variety of new media operations. Its diverse portfolio include the Popfolio Network (comprising of PopTeeVee, Tongue in Chic, Poskod and Makchic), a digital agency arm (The Greatest Hits), the #Bettercities initiative to improve urban living, and the annual Cooler Lumpur Festival, a platform that brings together writers, artists, musicians and thinkers from across the globe in an attempt to create new connections, to share and spread new ideas, and to serve as a catalyst for cultural conversations. He is also the executive creative director of the Cooler Lumpur Festival.

Umapagan Ampikaipakan

Umapagan is a media moll. You can find him almost everywhere – from newsprint to the world wide web, from radio to television – where he contemplates everything from the idiosyncrasies of Malaysian politics to his unnatural obsession with the written word. Blessed with a critic’s pen and a reader’s enthusiasm, he is a leading literary voices. His long-running radio show on BFM89.9, Bookmark, is Malaysia’s pre-eminent broadcast on all things book related. He is a film critic with At the Movies and the co-host of BFM89.9’s drive-time radio show, The Evening Edition. He is also the literary director of the Cooler Lumpur Festival, Southeast Asia’s first and only festival of ideas.