Goodbye and Good Riddance

A well-known Malaysian has died and my social media feed is full of people declaring what a loss the country has suffered. I am filled with anger because I know that this man was an egoistical, arrogant, physically abusive misogynistic.

I once had the misfortune of editing a short story by him and he responded to my edits with indignation and outrage, demanding how I (a nobody, in his eyes) dared tell him (HIM!) how to improve his story. However, that was nothing compared to the violence he inflicted on the women in his life.

His actions aren’t a total secret, but even those who are aware of it have mostly either chosen to ignore what he did, or seem not to think it appropriate to talk about, now that he’s dead. Well, it wasn’t discussed even when he was alive.

I don’t know if his victims ever reported him; if they were counselled; if they sought to make him accountable in whatever way they saw fit; or if they had any closure. As someone who has been abused, I know it’s a difficult and complicated place to be in, and how we respond isn’t something that is always easily understood, even by ourselves.

I have always been disgusted by the way this man has been treated like a hero by the public. I acknowledge that some of his work is good, but I am unable to truly separate it from his abusive behaviour.

A lit fest in KL?

A friend (a Singaporean writer) told me that she will be in Kuala Lumpur next month for the KL Lit Fest, i.e. she has been invited to participate as a speaker and/or panelist.

‘What is that?’ I asked.

She was, quite understandably, surprised that I had not heard of this event. After all, I live in Kuala Lumpur and I am supposedly part of the arts/writing community. (Hmm … well, admittedly I try to distance myself from most other Malaysian writers because, as a whole, I can’t stand their mutual masturbation, self satisfaction and inability to accept criticism of any sort. Individually, they seem sensible enough, but as a collective, say, on the Facebook Malaysian Writers group, they seem impossibly, aggravatingly petty.)

But anyway.

I googled the Kl Lit Fest and found a website that reveals that this event (organised by Perbadanan Kota Buku) will run from 11th to 13th November. This is less than a month away and yet, no venue has been fixed, no events listed.

Kota Buku’s Instagram account tells us a little more, with a poster featuring the country flags of speakers. A venue is also mentioned (Art Printing Works in Bangsar):

kllitfest

But, still, no names of speakers, or specific events.

I guess I’ll have to rely on my Singaporean writer friend to keep me informed.

The answer my friend is blowin’ in the wind

bd

Bob Dylan has won the Nobel Prize for Literature. A more deserving writer, in my opinion, than the bookies’ favourite, Haruki Murakami.

(I think Paul Simon is another songwriter whose lyrics deserve such recognition. Who else? Katell Keineg; Leonard Cohen; Fleetfoxes (whoever writes their lyrics); most decidedly not Jon Anderson of Yes.)

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Listen to Roger!

Apart from having great respect Roger Sutton, Editor in Chief of The Horn Book, Inc. (regardless of whether or not I agree with his opinions), I have always, always been enormously entertained by his writing in The Horn Book Magazine and his blog Read Roger. And, now (well, for a while now, but I’ve just started listening), there’s the Horn Book‘s podcasts so … more Roger Sutton! How creepy do I sound?

The podcasts are hosted by Sutton and editorial assistant (at The Horn Book GuideSian Gaetano, who discuss stuff they ‘find important, exciting, and fun’ and laugh. A lot.

They’re rambly, not always on-point, and listening to them is like eaves-dropping on conversations that sound like they don’t have a point, but, really, truly, they do. Sort of. In any case, they talk about books ad reading, and all the stuff connected to those subjects, and they’re interesting and friendly-sounding and knowledgable. Love it, love them!

The episode pasted above is a great example of the podcasts, and one of my favourites, so far!

The 2016 Hugo award winners

Best novel: The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin (Orbit)

Best novella: Binti by Nnedi Okorafor (Tor.com)

Best novelette: “Folding Beijing” by Hao Jingfang, translated Ken Liu (Uncanny Magazine, Jan-Feb 2015)

Best short story: “Cat Pictures Please” by Naomi Kritzer (Clarkesworld, January 2015)

Best related work: No Award

Best graphic story: The Sandman: Overture written by Neil Gaiman, art by J.H. Williams III (Vertigo)

Best dramatic presentation (long form): The Martian screenplay by Drew Goddard, directed by Ridley Scott (Scott Free Productions; Kinberg Genre; TSG Entertainment; 20th Century Fox)

Best dramatic presentation (short form): Jessica Jones: “AKA Smile” written by Scott Reynolds, Melissa Rosenberg, and Jamie King, directed by Michael Rymer (Marvel Television; ABC Studios; Tall Girls Productions; Netflix)

Best editor – short form: Ellen Datlow

Best editor – long form: Sheila E. Gilbert

Best professional artist: Abigail Larson

Best semiprozine: Uncanny Magazine edited by Lynne M. Thomas & Michael Damian Thomas, Michi Trota, and Erika Ensign & Steven Schapansky

Best fanzine: File 770 edited by Mike Glyer

Best fancast: No Award

Best fan writer: Mike Glyer

Best fan artist: Steve Stiles

The John W. Campbell Award for the best new professional science fiction or fantasy writer of 2014 or 2015, sponsored by Dell Magazines (not a Hugo Award): Andy Weir