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Epigram authors Bernice Chauly and Suffian Hakim head to Cairo Literature Festival 2019

Authors Bernice Chauly and Suffian Hakim will be the first Epigram authors to feature at the 2019 edition of the Cairo Literature Festival.

The festival, which was started in 2015, will run from 16 to 21 Feb 2019, and will include readings of literary texts, discussion panels, and will tackle issues of writing and translation.

Both Bernice and Suffian have been invited to take part in the panels "Asian Literature Written in English" (18 Feb), a panel on the impact of English-language literature in Asian; and "Far Islands; Close Literature" (19 Feb), a seminar about contemporary literature in Singapore, the Philippines, and Malaysia (19 Feb). Bernice will also appear at two more poetry events during the festival (18 & 21 Feb). 

Suffian, whom The Straits Times called “undoubtedly one of the most whimsical, creative and unpretentious young voices in Singapore literature”, is the author of the hilarious novel, The Minorities, which was re-released and launched by Epigram at the Singapore Writers Festival in 2018.

The novel looks at what happens when four friends who share a Yishun flat decide to help a pontianak that has been haunting them, and get her back home to Malacca. He also wrote the parody, Harris bin Potter and the Stoned Philosopher, which will be re-issued by Epigram later in 2019. 

"It's an incredible honour to represent Singapore, and more importantly, Singlit at the festival,” says Suffian about attending the Cairo Literature Festival.

“I’m a firm believer of cross-cultural exchange of ideas, I'm a believer in friendships that transcends borders and cultures, and I hope to set a good precedent here for other writers in Singapore to attend in the future and share their stories,” he added.

“It will also be a good opportunity for me to sort out my mummy issues."

Bernice Chauly is the author of Once We Were There, a novel set during Malaysia’s Reformasi period of the late 1990s.

It follows the life of Delonix Regia as she emerges from the genesis of Malaysia's Reformasi movement to settle down and start a family. But her life is interrupted by the kidnapping of her baby, causing her to dive into the deep, dark underbelly of Kuala Lumpur, where a wrong move can have fatal consequences.

Once We Were There won the 2017 Penang Monthly Book Prize.  

According to organisers Sefsafa for Culture and Publishing, a private cultural institution, the Cairo Literature Festival is aimed at promoting communication among the literary public and writers and critics; as well as to promote cultural exchange between Arabic literature and the literature of other countries, while strengthening the links between readers and writers from around the world. 

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