By Aminah Sheikh
Let’s get down to brass tacks. Why do you write?
I write when I am disturbed by issues or ideas. I then do a bit of research on the subject matter. I begin to write if I have a sense of resolution and only if I can offer windows for readers to ponder upon the issues and form their own thoughts or opinions on them. In that sense I write to grow and validate my own existence.
Tell us about your most recent book or writing project. What were you trying to say or achieve with it?
In my next novel I am exploring the need for religion to grow naturally with cultural practices. This is to ensure that the practice of religion is relevant, meaningful and not alienated from the lives of the adherents. Much of what we see today is the opposite. Religion is very much an imposition or a borrowed phenomenon imported from peoples of different cultural backgrounds. This has resulted in unnecessary tension and alienation.
Describe your writing aesthetic.
I try to write simply, yet offer layers of interpretation on my work.
Published by Kitaab International, Tweet is Cultural Medallion winner Isa Kamari’s new novella. Tweet, is a high-quality work of imaginative fiction that marries traditional storytelling with a modern theme. The novel is set in Singapore’s bird park, an international tourist destination and an iconic bird sanctuary. Isa Kamari, through a dialogue between a Singaporean grandfather and his grandchild, ponders over the stress and demands of our modern human existence. Through the grandchild’s innocent questions, the author exposes us to the frailties of our modern life. Intermixed in the narrative is the famous fable of Simurg, the legendary bird, that some of the birds of the bird park are deliriously desirous of meeting. They embark upon a journey that brings them face-to-face with a reality that they had not imagined even in their dreams. In his first ever English language work, Isa Kamari shows us a new facet of his storytelling abilities, which is part philosophical and part imaginative.
About the author:
Isa Kamari has written in Malay, 9 novels, 2 collections of poetry, a collection of short stories, a book of essays on Singapore Malay poetry, a collection of theatre scripts and lyrics of 2 song albums. His novels have been translated into English, Turkish, Urdu, Indonesian and Mandarin. His collections of essays and selected poems have been translated into English. Isa was conferred the S.E.A Write Award in 2006, Singapore Cultural Medallion in 2007 and the Anugerah Tun Seri Lanang in 2009.
To buy: Tweet
Born in Thanjavur District, J.M. Sali, an international figure in the Tamil literary world, has been awarded the ‘Cultural Medallion 2012’ of the National Arts Council, Singapore. President Tony Tan Keng Yam presented the award at a brief function held at the President’s residence recently.
The Cultural Medallion was instituted in 1979, to recognise individuals who have attained artistic excellence and have contributed to Singapore’s arts and culture.
Sali is a multifaceted personality having excelled for decades as a novelist, print journalist, broadcast journalist, radio and TV playwright, magazine editor, poet and translator. Sali wrote his first short story for a magazine named Kannan published from Chennai, when he was still in school. (1955).
He served as the assistant editor for the Singapore-based Tamil language broadsheet, Tamil Murasu, from 1964 to 1971. In 1971, he served in the same position for a popular Tamil weekly Ananda Vikatan. From 1983 to 2000, Sali worked as a Senior Broadcast Journalist with the Singapore Broadcasting Corporation (later the Television Corporation of Singapore).