Mahat Akiya, is the only published Orang Asli (indigenous) writer from the Semai tribe. Born in Ladang Ulu Bernam, Perak in 1953, he took on the pen name Akiya when he began writing poems towards the end of his career as a DJ for the Orang Asli radio station, Asyik FM. His poems have given society an insight into the psyche of the Orang Asli, intimating their aspirations and hopes, and rectifying negative perceptions society has had of them. His first novel, Perang Sangkil (Slave Wars), is based on the struggle and history of his people. Tuntut (Claim), an anthology of Orang Asli short stories and Perjuangan Warisan Orang Asli: Suara Dari Dalam (Orang Asli Heritage Struggle: Voices from Within) an anthology of poetry – are his attempts to connect Orang Asli history, heritage and future to his own people and to Malaysian society. He has three manuscripts, which are currently being edited for publication.
Tash Aw grew up in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia before leaving to attend university in England. He is the author of three novels, The Harmony Silk Factory (2005), Map of the Invisible World (2009) and Five Star Billionaire (2013), which have won the Whitbread First Book Award and Commonwealth Writers Prize, and twice been nominated for the MAN Booker Prize. His novels have also been translated into 23 languages. A frequent contributor to the BBC, Tash also writes and reviews for a number of publications, including the Guardian and the Times Literary Supplement. His short fiction has won an O. Henry Award and was included in the landmark 100th issue of Granta.
Tash Aw is supported by the British Council
Ali Cobby Eckermann
Ali Cobby Eckermann is a Torres Strait indigenous writer who has received great acclaim as a poet and verse novelist. Her work reflects upon her personal journey and her reconnection with her Yankunytjatjara/Kokatha family. In 2012 she received a Deadly Award for Outstanding Achievement in Literature. In 2010 she performed at the Ubud Writers & Readers Festival in Bali, and in 2012 at the Reaching the World Summit in Bangkok. Ali runs an Aboriginal Writers Retreat in Koolunga SA where she now lives. The retreat provides a creative, relaxed, and enjoyable environment for artistic projects and the advancement of Indigenous literacy. In 2013 she was selected by Australia Poetry as the Poetry Ambassador to Ireland. Her verse novel Ruby Moonlight won the Kenneth Slessor Prize for Poetry and Book of the Year at the recent 2013 NSW Premier’s Awards in Sydney. Too Afraid to Cry (2013) is her much anticipated memoir.
Ali Cobby Eckermann is supported by Holiday Tours
She lives in Singapore.
Rodaan Al Galidi
Rodaan Al Galidi was born in Iraq and has lived in the Netherlands for 15 years, which included many years as a refugee. He has written more than 10 books, which include poetry, short stories and novels, including his last collection, “Rather not”, Said Love. His mother tongue is Arabic but he writes in Dutch. He performs regularly in the Netherlands and Belgium and has performed in festivals in Turkey, Ukraine, Indonesia and the Dutch Antilles. He won the European Union Prize for Literature for the Netherlands (2011) for his novel The Autist and the Homing Pigeon. He first performed in Malaysia at the Writers Unlimited Tour Kuala Lumpur/Makassar in 2011. He lives in the Canary Islands in Spain.
Rodaan Al Galidi is supported by the Embassy of the Kingdom of Netherlands
Eric Hansen, author of the internationally acclaimed Stranger in the Forest, Motoring with Mohammed, Orchid Fever, and The Bird Man and the Lap Dancer, has been called “one of the most original travel writers working today by Kirkus Reviews. National Geographic described Stranger in the Forest as a “Masterpiece of the Genre” and one of the 100 best adventure travel books ever written. Born in San Francisco, and a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley, Hansen traveled extensively throughout the Middle East, Afghanistan, Nepal, India, Israel, Southeast Asia and Australia for thirty years. He has been awarded the French literary prize Le Grand Prix de Voyage. In 2005 he was a finalist in the PEN USA Literary Awards for Creative nonfiction for his most recent book, The Bird Man and the Lap Dancer – Close Encounters with Strangers.
Eric Hansen is supported by the US Embassy