Kam @ Kino

Filed in Books, People

Kam Raslan has done numerous readings in public before, but yesterday evening at Kinokuniya was his first outing as the author of Confessions of an Old Boy: The Dato’ Hamid Adventures. With book in hand, no less. And altho it wasn’t billed as such, the occasion felt like a launch of the book. And altho it wasn’t by invitation, the occasion had the air of a private celebration attended by good friends and well-wishers, including Jit Murad and Patrick Teoh (those were the only two faces I could put names to).

In addition to reading excerpts from the book (including from “The Beat Generation” and “Ariff and Capitalism”), Kam also shared about the writing process and how Dato’ Hamid was born. He took questions from the audience – someone asked about his next book, while another wanted to know if he learned anything about himself in the process of writing about Dato’ Hamid ( “I learned what a procrastinator I am” – the seven chapters had taken him seven years to write); there was also the inevitable question about the state of Malaysian literature. One of the things Kam said he would like to do in his next book – a continuation of the Dato’ Hamid story, possibly an epic – would be to focus more on the Dato’s adventures within Malaysia.

If the Kino reading was meant to help push sales of the book, then it failed, mainly because there is no need to – the book has been selling very well, and in fact, according to Christine, a representative of Marshall Cavendish present at the reading, “there is no more stock in the warehouse, and we are thinking of reprinting the book.” The excellent sales of the book, along with those of other recently published Malaysian books like Dina Zaman’s I Am Muslim and Lydia Teh’s Honk! If You’re Malaysian, point to a growing market and appreciation for books by Malaysian writers, one that would hopefully be satisfied by more of the same in the future.

Kam’s first public reading of Confessions of an Old Boy attracted no less than 50 attendees, according to a head count conducted by the Madcap Machinist. His next reading will be on 27 May 2007 at Borders The Curve.