Local literary arts festival for young writers emerging from the scene

Come as you are to the inaugural Kuala Lumpur Youth Literary Arts Festival (KLYLAF) from June 24-26, with participation from a handful of Klang Valley arts venues.

Yes, they really mean it: the festival’s theme is ‘No Invitation Necessary’, an apt representation of its spirit of openness, diversity, inclusivity and community.

“Much of our society is based on elitism and exclusivity, where access and opportunity are given based on ‘cliques’ or who you know, who your parents are or how popular you are. a person on social media. We want to challenge these barriers, limitations and restrictions based on social status, age, gender, ability, race, culture, religion and many more.

“We want to disrupt the status quo of closed doors, or doors with secret entrances and locations, priority lists and private auditions. At KLYLAF, you don’t need an invitation and you don’t need permission. If the sky was the limit, where would you go? What would you do? What would you talk about? Who would you be?” summarizes the message of the organizers.

“Access and inclusion is often not the norm in our society, which is why we have made it an important part of our curriculum,” says Foster. Photo: The Star/Azman Ghani

This literary and performing arts festival for young emerging writers, arts educators and performers is organized by the Malaysian Institute for Debate and Public Speaking (MIDP) and MY Poetry School, with the sponsorship of the School of English at the University of Nottingham in Malaysia and additional support from MABECS (a UK education consultancy service).

It aims to promote education in the literary arts, to provide a platform for young and emerging writers, as well as to create communities of writers for young people.

It is a place where young people inspire young people, while creating opportunities and exchanges for young people who are passionate about theatre, drama, spoken word and storytelling.

“Access and inclusion is often not the norm in our society, which is why we have made it an important part of our program. We must also prioritize the development of creativity and the promotion of collaboration among our young people as a discipline, instead of overemphasizing the idea of ​​genius, exceptional talent or virtuoso,” says Elaine Foster, Founder of MY Poetry School.

“When we help young people play a greater role in designing a more accessible and inclusive world for themselves, we automatically create a better, more diverse, equal and inclusive future,” she adds.

KLYLAF is a hybrid festival, featuring online workshops, artist panels and a mentorship session, and live physical events that include an opening show at the Nero Event Space at the Petaling Jaya Performing Arts Center (PJPac); Saturday Night Live, an open-mic event at Merdekarya in Selangor; and a poetry slam at KuAsh Theatre, Pusat Kreatif Kanak-Kanak Tuanku Bainun at TTDI, Kuala Lumpur.

Each event is organized with specific age limits in mind by art and soft skills educators to maximize the learning experience.

Through these educational and interactive activities, the festival hopes to promote literary and artistic education among Malaysian youth.

“Now more than ever, spaces for young people to express themselves, connect and socialize with each other have become essential. With schools closed and the prolonged lockdown limiting their social lives, our young people have been deprived more than two years of opportunities to hone their soft skills that must be developed through rigorous daily interactions, as well as meaningful lived experiences that can shape their maturity, emotional intelligence and worldview,” says Emellia Shariff, Director general of MIDP.

KLYLAF also highlights the growing need to shift the focus from established big names to the next generation of local artists and writers.

“Conceived with young people in mind, the festival provides a safe, interactive space that allows for such a coming together of minds and talents, while exploring ways to see and hear the creative work of our young people outside of traditional publication expectations. .,” said Dr Sheena Baharudin, assistant professor of literature at the University of Nottingham in Malaysia.

More information here.

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