Friday, November 13, 2009

The Jakarta Post owes me an itsy-bisty apology...

Alerted by Gwee Li Sui's Facebook notes! The Jakarta Post covered Singapore Writers Festival in this article, which included the following paragraph:

"There were almost 70 Singaporean literary luminaries directly participating in events, including established writers like Catherine Lim (The Bondmaid, 1995), a self-described “incorrigible, unstoppable storyteller”, and de-facto poet laureate Edwin Thumboo (Ulysses by the Merlion, 1979) to emerging talents like Wena Poon, who won the Singapore Literature Prize for her debut novel Lions in Winter."

Well, as most of you know:

1. "Lions in Winter" is a collection of short stories, not a novel.

2. Wena's debut novel was actually the self-published sci-fi thriller "Biophilia".

3. She didn't win the SLP. She was shortlisted the same year that, ahem, I won. (She was my favourite to win, though.)

Wena's pretty pissed at them too. They referred to her latest book, "The Proper Care of Foxes", as a romance.

Speaking of literary gossip, there's been an intriguing spate happening between NUS English student Nicholas Liu and Gilbert Koh, a banker who also goes by the nom de blog of Mr Wang.

Basically, Nicholas did a QLRS review of Gilbert's first collection of poems, "Two Baby Hands". It's a very, very cutting review, but I have to say I agree with the points made - I've got a certain style and approach to poetry, after all.

Gilbert, however, hasn't handled the criticism well. And it's quite natural to be upset - I'm always upset when I read bad or even mediocre reviews of my theatre work. But he got really - well - snarky and ad hominemly defensive in his responses: see here, here and here.

I dormed with Gilbert at the Pulau Ubin writers' retreat, so I can say he's a pretty nice guy in person. His poetry's a hell of a lot more accessible than mine, too.

But he's gotta learn something: almost all coverage is good coverage. More people are going to check out his book because of the review, and a lot of them are going to like the book. And the controversy caused by this is making more people think about our work in new ways.

Now if only Jakarta Post would write something, good or bad, about me...