It has always been a strong aspect of the Dhaka Lit Fest that the organisers and producers never lose sight of these innovative artists
Different genres of literature have branched out in many different directions and this has never been truer before. In the postmodern age, literary and poetic talents push the boundaries of the grand narratives and strive to seek newer modes of communication with their audience. So they combine poetry with performance, or prose with visual art, to name just a few.
It has always been a strong aspect of the Dhaka Lit Fest that the organisers and producers never lose sight of these innovative artists. It explains why talented artists like Vuyelwa Maluleke and Prabda Yoon, and writers like Eddin Khoo have been featured in this year’s lineup.
Vuyelwa Maluleke is a Johannesburg-based spoken word artist, scriptwriter and actor who describes herself as a storyteller – archiving through her writing, influenced by her personal experience of blackness and womanness – living in present day South Africa. With a BA in dramatic arts from the University of Witwatersrand, she came under the spotlight when she was shortlisted for the Brunel University African Poetry in 2014. Maluleke is also the author of a chapbook titled Things we Lost in the Fire. Her writing serves as evidence that the black female body in South Africa is consistently being broken into in various spaces, that it can love and affirm itself is evidence of its ability to survive.
Eddin Khoo is poet, writer, translator, journalist, teacher and independent art curator who has been widely published. He is also the founder of Pusaka, a leading cultural centre in the region which works to preserve and promote traditional and ritual arts in Malaysia, and Kala, a publishing house devoted to publishing literary translations of works from different languages into Malay, making them appeal to a bigger audience. Khoo studied Islamic thought and philosophy before co-authoring a book on traditional Malay woodcarving titled The Spirit of Wood (2003) and translating the works of Indonesian poet Goenawan Mohamad and Malaysian poet Latiff Mohidin into English. He is scheduled to publish his translation of Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass into Malay, sometime next year. Khoo is currently busy compiling and editing the complete writings of his father, Khoo Kay Kim, a famous Malaysian historian. He is also serving as the principal curator of the Southeast Asian cultural initiative and conversations series KataKatha.
Prabda Yoon is also one of those individuals who wears many hats. A writer, translator, graphic designer, publisher and film-maker based in Bangkok, Yoon is considered by many to be the voice of the Thai youth, who popularised post-modernist techniques and made them a mainstay in the stream of contemporary Thai literature. His story collection, Kwam Na Ja Pen (Probability), won the SEA Write Award in 2002. Yoon is responsible for running the publishing house Typhoon Studio, co-founded the independent bookshop Bookmoby Reader’s Cafe and serves as the vice president of International Affairs in the Publishers and Booksellers Association of Thailand (PUBAT). He is also the current president of the Asia Pacific Publishers Association (APPA).