Tuesday September 25, 2012
Always something to share at Readings@Seksan
THERE is nothing extraordinary about the house if you look at it from the side of the road. At least, there is nothing from the outside that hints at what happens every month within its four walls.
The gallery on the ground floor of landscape architect Ng Seksan’s office is converted into a creative space each month for like minded-people to gather and talk about all things literary.
Founded in 2005 by author-actress Bernice Chauly (who now runs its sister event, Ceritaku@NoBlackTie) and creative writing teacher and writer Sharon Bakar, Readings@Seksan has become KL’s longest-running live literature event.
Seven years down the road, more than 400 writers have been featured, and there is still something new to be had at each gathering of Readings, thanks to the growing interest in local writing, and lots of hard work behind the scenes.
“The aim of both Ceritaku and Readings is to encourage writers by giving them a platform for them to read their work and socialise. This is particularly important because writing is a very solitary occupation and it’s helpful for writers to have the chance to test works in progress on a live audience,” says Sharon.
The events give authors an opportunity to promote their books, and for everyone to network.
Six writers are given about 15 minutes each to read from their works, and there is the occasional music performance thrown in for good measure.
“There is always a mixture of the established and the newbie, fiction and non-fiction, poetry and prose, published and not-yet-published, in Malay and English.
“There is a real sense of community created by these gatherings, and I love the way that everyone is so supportive of the work of others. One of the ‘rules’ of the gathering is that no one, no matter how famous or critically acclaimed, is allowed to be the ‘star’. Everyone gets the same billing and the same amount of time,” she explains.
Usually, around 50 people turn up for each Readings event, although the head count once exceeded 100 at a session where Awang Goneng, author of Growing Up In Trengganu, read.
The next Readings gathering this Saturday will feature Uthaya Sankar S.B. (who will be reading from his new novel, Pancayat: Special Edition), Elizabeth Marshall (who will present a “funny whimsical pantun” and a ghazal) and Adi Wafi and Mosyuk Borhan (they have a newly-launched collection of poetry and short stories entitled RahsiaDuaPria).
Debra Paul-Burgess from Trinidad and Tobago will also be reading, and classical guitarist Az Samad will be performing with poet Davina Goh as well.
Although Sharon strives for some sort of balance in the programme (in terms of content and the reader’s background) so that there is something for everyone in the audience, she is a firm believer in not trying to confine creativity.
“They have complete freedom to express themselves. Some very brave pieces have been read by writers prepared to open up to the audience about their deepest held beliefs and fears. That is what writing is all about: a good writer helps all of us grow in understanding,” she says. – Rouwen Lin
> The next Readings will be held on Sept 29, 3.30pm, at Seksan Gallery (67, Jalan Tempinis 1, Lucky Garden, Bangsar, KL). For more information, check out Readings on Facebook (facebook.com/groups/12482 985713/), visit Sharon’s blog (thebooka holic.blogspot.com) or email her at sharon firstname.lastname@example.org.