Kita secara umumnya mengetahui betapa sastera itu merentas sempadan dan merupakan satu modal seni untuk kemanusiaan di celah krisis dan goncangan politik. Sastera menjadi suara manusia tatkala perang, dan aman. Sastera adalah puncak luahan seni dan wacana intelektual umat manusia. Ia tidak harus digugat dan terkekang oleh kuasa politik. Maka sebagai sasterawan, penyair dan juga seniman; pengarang menebar kefahaman, kecintaan dan berusaha menjuarai hidup sentosa selain menjadi suara kesetaraan. Dalam dunia penuh kebimbangan oleh pandemik, gasakan kuasa, kemerosotan hak asasi manusia, bagaimanakah pengarang akan kekal bersuara jika dibungkam? Pembentangan oleh Bernice Chauly, Jaymani Sevanathan, dan Kulleh Grasi ini akan diselaraskan oleh Faisal Tehrani. Mereka akan sama-sama berbincang persoalan karya masing-masing, harapan untuk kemanusiaan dan sikap terhadap Ikrar PEN Sejagat (PEN Charter).
If literature is silenced, how do I speak? An Exploration of the PEN Charter
We understand that literature knows no frontiers and remains a common cultural currency of humanity, even in the middle of a political crisis. Literature is a voice in times of both war and peace. Literature is the peak of artistic expression and part of intellectual discourse in society. Literature should be left untouched by political power. An author, poet, and artist looks to spread understanding, brotherhood/sisterhood, and to champion humanitarian values in peace by becoming a voice of equality. In this world, weary of the pandemic, repression, and the deterioration of human rights, how do we stay relevant if literature is silenced? Speakers discuss their work, their hope for humanity, and their views about the PEN Charter.
Jaymani Sevanathan is a Political Science graduate from the National University of Malaysia (UKM). She writes for mainstream magazines and newspapers. Her work can also be found and read in several anthologies. Jaymani’s interest in Malay literature began recently and she intends to continue to study and explore more in the near future.
Kulleh Grasi’s poems have been published in the Malay-English journal Naratif | Kisah (2016). His first full-length poetry collection,Tell Me Kenyalang was published last year by Circumference Books, a New York-based publisher, and has been listed as a nominee for the BTBA American Best Translation Book Award 2020 and the National Translation Award 2020 by ALTA American Literary Translation Association. The work of this prolific artist from the heart of Borneo has also been featured in the Poetry Society of America.
Bernice Chauly is a Malaysian novelist, poet and educator. Born in George Town, Penang, to Chinese-Punjabi teachers, she read Education and English Literature in Canada as a government scholar. For over 20 years, she worked as a multi-disciplinary artist and is recognized as one of the most significant voices of her generation. She is also the former Festival Director of the George Town Literary Festival (2011-2018), which won the Literary Festival Award at the 2018 London Book Fair’s International Excellence Awards.
Moderator: Faisal Tehrani
Mohd Faizal Musa or his pen name, Faisal Tehrani (born 1974) is an essayist and novelist. He is currently working at the Institute of the Malay World and Civilisation, the National University of Malaysia (UKM), where he is researching literature and human rights. Seven of Faisal’s books are banned and he is frequently targeted by religious extremists. Faisal Tehrani is among human rights defenders in Malaysia advocating freedom of religion and beliefs.