15 SEP 2018 3PM sharp (registration and meet the panellists from 2:30PM)

Literature as a Guide to Human Nature

Malaysia, United Kingdom


Free admission

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Socrates’ counsel “Know thyself” was not going to be remotely possible without the aid of great literature which is all about the human heart in conflict with itself.

Hear our panelists suggest why literary works are fascinating guides to human character. This is an extremely rare occasion where we have such distinguished panellists gathered together.

Read more on the Festival blog here.


Terence Netto has been a journalist for over four decades, carving a niche at the intersection where philosophy, literature and politics meet. He is drawn to the craft for the opportunity it affords in giving permanence and universality to fleeting and immediate impressions. Read his views on this theme over at the Festival blog.


David T.K. Wong was born in Hong Kong and received his early education in China, Singapore and Australia. He has degrees in political science and journalism from Stanford University in America and a post-graduate diploma in public administration from the Institute of Social Studies at The Hague. Later, he also became a Fellow in Economics at Queen Elizabeth House at Oxford.He worked as a journalist in Hong Kong, London and Singapore for a number of years before joining the Administrative Service of the Hong Kong Government. After retirement from public service, he became the Managing Director of an international trading firm for eight years before migrating to London to embark upon a writing career.

One of Hong Kong’s most distinguished writers, to-date he has published four collections of short stories and two novels. His short stories, some of which have earned him a number of awards, have appeared in various magazines in the United States, Great Britain, Hong Kong and other Asian countries.

Many of his stories have been broadcast by BBC Radio 4 in Britain, RTHK in Hong Kong and other stations in Ireland, Holland, Belgium and elsewhere. A number of his short stories have appeared in anthologies.

He is now resident in Malaysia and is currently working on the third volume of his family memoirs, dealing with his experiences as a civil servant in the Hong Kong government.

He is the founder of the annual David T.K. Wong Fellowship in Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia in the UK. The Fellowship awards £26,000 to a successful candidate to write a serious work of fiction set in the Far East.

“In each story, Wong slips into the skin of a different person, sharing insights into their respective worlds with us. He deftly avoids the clichés often associated with Hong Kong fiction, and through his sharp observation of human nature draws us into each plot, so that the moment we finish one story we’re looking forward to the next.” – South China Morning Post

Tiffany Atkinson is a Professor of Creative Writing and Convenor of the MA in Creative Writing (Poetry) at the University of East Anglia. She gained a PhD in Critical Theory at Cardiff University before moving to Aberystwyth University to lecture in English Literature and Creative Writing.

She is the author of three poetry collections: Kink and Particle (2006), which was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation and winner of the Jerwood Aldeburgh First Collection Prize; Catulla et al (2011), which received a Literature Wales Bursary and was shortlisted for the Wales Book of the Year prize; and So Many Moving Parts (2014), which received a Hawthornden Fellowship and was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation.
She is the editor of a theoretical textbook, The Body: A Reader (2003), and has strong research interests in the medical humanities, especially the history of anatomy and representations of the body.
She is currently working on a poetic sequence exploring representations of pain, illness and recovery – work that won the 2014 Medicine Unboxed Prize – and a series of critical essays about “the poetics of embarrassment”.
“even before the second page, we know we are reading the work of a genius.… In her own words, one of poetry’s chief gifts is ‘to encourage and support the kind of fricative reading experience that is so absent from contemporary textual encounters’.” – Wales Arts Review

Achievements and Accolades:


2011 Jerwood Aldeburgh First Collection Prize

2014 Medicine Unboxed Prize


2006 and 2014 Poetry Book Society Recommendations


2011 Lierature Wales Bursary


2011 Shortlisted for Wales Book of the Year Prize

2014 Hawthornden Fellowship


Malim Ghozali was born in Malim Nawar, Perak, in 1949. He graduated with B.A (Hons) in Malay Studies/Social Anthropology from University of Malaya 1973, and also obtained a post Graduate Diploma in Port and Shipping Administration from the University of Wales Institute of Science and Technology, UK, 1978. 


He served in various positions as an Administrative and Diplomatic officer, including the Director of Immigration Southern Region, Director of Road Transport Department, Johor and Director of Training, Manpower Department, before retiring optionally in 1994.   
During the fall of 1989 Malim attended a fellowship program in creative arts at the Virginia Centre for Creative Arts, Amherst, Virginia, USA.  August through November 2007 he attended the prestigious Iowa International Writing Program. July – August 2008 taught short story writing at Arga Mulya, Bogor, a program instituted by MASTERA (South East Asia Literary Council).

Apart from writing four novels to date Redang (Swamp Story), “Promises of Paramaribo”, Daunand “Tree of Sorrow”, Malim has produced 5 short story collection; (Usia, Ini Chow Kit Road, Sudilah Mampir!, Langit Tidak Berbintang di Ulu Slim, Tanah, Air, Api dan Angin, Song of September and Sarah Leong’s Story) and 7 poetry collections (Gemaruang,Hujan Di Limun Pagi (Early Morning Rain), Sajak-sajakku Tak Pernah Tahu (My Poems They Never Knew), Malim Nawar Telah Kupinjam Namamu, Embun Gugur di Halaman (Dew Drops on the Pathway) and Kembali Kepada Kata).  Malim has translated literary works from Malay-English and vice-versa. Among them, “Frankinsense” (Mana Setanggimu) by National Laureate Noordin Hassan and Imam, by National Laureate Abdullah Hussain.  He has also translated short stories by National Laureate Anwar Ridhwan and other literary works from Venezuela, Turkey, Vietnam, Singapore, Indonesia, China and Japan into Bahasa Melayu.

His research work on Quranic sciences produced “The Profound Truth Understanding Perfection”, which has since been translated into Thai.

Malim has won many awards and prizes both nationally and internationally, including the Esso-Gapena Literary Prize, Utusan Group Literary Prize, Malaysian Literary Prize and Hadiah Sastera Perdana.  In 2013 he was awarded the SEA Write Award by the Government of Thaiand and Doctor of Literature (D.Litt) from the World Academy of Arts and Culture, California, USA.  In 2014 he received the Perak Laureate Award.

In 2016 his novel, “Tree of Sorrow” was listed among 160 best novels and nominated for the IMPAC Dublin International Book Award.  In 2016 his short story collection, Langit Tidak Berbintang di Ulu Slim (Starless Sky in Ulu Slim)won the MASTERA (South East Asia Literary Council) Award and his poem, “The Game of Rodeo” won First Prize in the poetry competition organized by the 36thWorld Congress of Poets in Prague, Czech Republic.

Luka Nering adalah sebuah karya yang kuat. Gaya naratif Malim Ghozali PK sangat memukau dan mempesonakan. Elemen-elemen atau ciri-ciri sasteranya menarik dan meyakinkan. Jika kemungkinan-kemungkinan pada bab-bab penghujung novel ini diambil kira, Malim Ghozali telah mula menuju ke arah gaya penulisan pascamoden yang lebih mencabar.” – Baharuddin Kahar, Utusan
“Tree of Sorrow is certainly a strong piece of work. The narrative style of Malim Ghozali PK is extremely intriguing and fascinating. The literary elements are interesting and convincing. If the possibilities explored at the novel’s end are taken into account, Malim Ghozali would have moved towards a style of post-modern writing which is significantly more challenging.” – Baharuddin Kahar, Utusan

CSR (Community Outreach Program) Partner

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