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Literary Sharps at First Sharpened Word

The inaugural book-reading matinee, “Sharpened Word”, the successor of “Northern Writers” initiated by Yusof Martin, was held at the Sepaloh Art Centre on Saturday, October 17. The objective of this gathering of like-minded Ipohites is to promote writing and reading, in the English language, as a viable mode of communicative and literary entertainment.

“Northern Writers” incepted in 2014, was discontinued for a variety of reasons, poor response being the deciding factor.

The newly-minted “Sharpened Word” is based on a similar concept but with a fresh team at the helm. Led by former hotelier Peter Bucher (Pak Peter) and assisted by Charmalee Sivapragasam, an accomplished playwright, the revamped book-reading session got on to a good start.

The attendance, though small, was encouraging as some of Ipoh’s better known word smiths were there in the flesh. Among them was lawyer Sivapragasam, a noted writer in his heydays.

For the record, Sharpened Word is an event designed to celebrate Ipoh-based literary arts in its primacy. The non-profit organisation will organise periodic sessions where writers can articulate portions of their literary works and entertain questions from an appreciative audience.

Sharpened Word-organised literary matinee will feature three writers from the northern part of Peninsular Malaysia. They can be any of the following – poets, novelists, non-fiction writers, short-story writers, playwrights, songwriters, bloggers, script writers and others from these genre. The sessions will be held on the third Saturday of each month at the iconic Sepaloh Art Centre, Ipoh.

The debut event began with an introduction of the first writer, Tan Wei Shern by emcee May Foo. The 19 year-old St Michael’s Institution student authored his first book, “For the Trumpet is Sounding, the Legacy Lives On” which is on sale at major bookshops.

Tan traces the evolution of his school musical band from infancy to a corps of drums and eventually to its present status as a premier school band in the state.

The second writer was Paul Gnana Selvam, an Ipoh-born writer who has several published books to his name. His writings focus on the Indians in Malaysia, especially social issues and identity conflicts affecting the Indian community.

His collection of short stories about the lives and struggles of the Malaysian Indians titled, “Latha’s Christmas and Other Stories” was published in 2013. Paul’s earlier short stories and poems had appeared in the e-magazines, ‘Dusun’ and ‘Anaksastra’.

His works can also be found in the anthologies, ‘Write Out Loud’, ‘Urban Odysseys’, ‘Body 2 Body’, ‘KL NOIR: YELLOW’, the biannual literary journals, ‘ASIATIC’ and the ‘Lakeview Journal of Arts and Literature’. Paul lectures at Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman in Kampar.

The next literary matinee is scheduled for Saturday, November 21 from 2pm to 5pm at Sepaloh Art Centre, Ipoh. For further enquiries, email


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