This post is late because on the actual Day 3, my day started early and didn’t end until about 3am the next day. No place to fit in a blog entry!

Joyce took me out to breakfast at an old-fashioned coffee shop before dropping me off at Bangsar.

For my last workshop, I attended Brian Castro‘s session on autobiographical fiction and how family history can be used in literature. One of the first things that stuck is that the term “true story” is an oxymoron! Autobiographical fiction is essentially using personal/family history to weave together a tale. It’s writing a story out of material you already have and giving it some form.

It doesn’t necessarily have to follow your exact history, as in chronicling the life of public figure like… oh, David Beckham. Fact, much like Beckham, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to be interesting.


Brian Castro reading from his book “Shanghai Dancing”.

So what is it about families and autobiographical fiction that is so seductive?

“Half-truths.” said Castro. “Autobiographical fiction is about psychological truths, truth about the human character rather than about particular people.”

When asked if he asked permission from his siblings to use them in the book, he said he didn’t. He is not in touch with them. Anyway, he fictionalised them and took interesting factors of their personality to form their “characters” in the book.


The crowd at the session @ Starbucks, Bangsar II.

As there was no proper closure to the KL LitFest, we simply drifted off after the session. It was kinda weird in an “I can’t believe it’s over” way.

I had the pleasure of sharing a table with Dr Lee Su Kim, author of ‘Malaysian Flavours’ and ‘Nyonya in Texas’ and with Cat, who wandered in just as the session was starting. I had my photo taken by NST to go with the interview I gave them the day before. I lingered, chatted and went off to find the bathroom.

Lydia later tried calling me because I wandered off while she was on the phone, but the number she had was the one one my card and I was using a different number in KL. She got me through See Ming later. Lydia gives her take on the Fest here.

I had such an amazing time at the LitFest, not because of the workshops or sessions, but because of all the people I met there. More writers than you can shake a stick at! Editors who answered a couple of burning questions! Poets of all types! Writers in various stages of denial! (“Oh, but I’m afraid to show my story to anyone.”)

I might have blown into KL and the Fest alone, but I certainly wasn’t lonely.

That’s all for this entry. I still have a few more coming when I find time and if Streamyx doesn’t decided to spend most of my day dead like the last couple of days.

2 comments

  1. Kenny: Delighted to be linked! You might want to direct all the links to this site though, as there’s a possibility that I’m taking the other one down at some point.

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