Monday, April 23, 2012

Kuching and KK: Two Creative Writing Workshops in June 2012.


Kuching:

The Writing Your Life Stories Workshop—Kuching that was originally scheduled for 28 April 2012 has been postponed until 23 June.  Instead of starting at 8.30am, it will now begin at 1.30pm.  My apologies for any inconvenience.

For full details and to sign up please go here

Kota Kinabalu:

A Facebook Public Event has been set up by Sana.Sini.Situ for the Creative Writing Workshop with Robert Raymer.

Sunday, June 17, 2012 from 1:00pm until 6:00pm at TBA in Kota Kinabalu.

It states:


Robert Raymer will be coming back to KK for another creative writing workshop!

Title: Story Mechanics, Manuscript Formatting and Internal Logic or How to Make Your Stories Believable and Saleable

Formatting your stories to the 'international' standard
Using dialogue
Analysing samples of short stories
Would s/he really do that? - story believability
Editing samples of writing

Registration fee: RM120 per pax (RM100 for students)

Light refreshments included

About Robert Raymer:-
Named as one of the “50 Expats You Should Know” by Expatriate Lifestyle, American Robert Raymer is a freelance editor, writing consultant, and author who has taught creative writing at two Malaysian universities, was the editor of Silverfish New Writings 4, has judged short story competitions, and conducted numerous workshops on writing and creative writing. His short stories and articles have been published over 500 times in The Literary Review, Thema, Aim, London Magazine, Going Places, My Weekly, The Writer and Reader’s Digest. Lovers and Strangers Revisited (MPH 2008), a collection of short stories set in Malaysia, winner of the 2009 Popular-The Star Readers Choice Awards, has been taught in several universities and private colleges and currently being translated into French. Tropical Affairs: Episodes from an Expat's Life in Malaysia (MPH 2009) is a collection of creative nonfiction about living in Malaysia for over twenty years. His latest book is Spirit of Malaysia (Editions Didier Millet). His blog on writing borneoexpatwriter.blogspot.com, interviews, and book reviews are available on his website www.borneoexpatwriter.com

To register please go to this site.

*Here is a link to my first KK workshop 2011, second KK workshop 2011 and third KK workshop 2011. There are also blog links from participants.  And my previous workshop in Kuching,

**If you are interested to bring one of my writing workshops to your organizations or association in Sabah/Sarawak/West Malaysia/Singapore/Brunei please contact me at robert@borneoexpatwriter.com  Thank you.

***Here the link to my website, to MPH online for orders for all three of my books, including my latest, Spirit of Malaysia and for the French translation of Lovers and Strangers Revisited  Trois autres Malaisie.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Skyping with Ohio University


After a couple of false starts during a trial run (including me being a day ahead of schedule), I was finally able to Skype with Dr Habibah Ashari and her students for her “Exploring Malaysia's Diversity through Film and Fiction” course taught at Ohio University.

Me being new to Skyping, I was fascinated by the whole process and how useful it can be for classrooms.  The delayed reaction from speaking and hearing, however, threw me off a bit; it's the same problem when talking long distance, but when Skyping you can see their mouths move or you’re wondering why is it taking them so long to react or respond?  Are they hearing me, understanding me?  Then there’s the exaggerated pause between answering one question and hearing the next, as students took turns asking me questions about two of my short stories from Lovers and Strangers Revisited, “Only in Malaysia” and “Home for Hari Raya”. 

They asked questions about how I arrived at the names of the characters (sometimes you try them on to see how they fit); how much of the story is true or based on fact (see story behind the story for “Only in Malaysia” and also “Home for Hari Raya”); why I revise the stories after publication (I’m still trying to sell them to other markets); and are the characters stereotypes (no, just typical of their respective races, recognizable as your neighbors as pointed out in reviews); and why is it necessary to identify the characters by race (a political hot button issue since race is often synonymous with religion, all Malays are Muslim at birth, which I also had to clarify for the French translation of Lovers and Strangers Revisited ). 

           
For my end, with the call being so early in the morning, (6:30 am my time—for them it was 6:30 the previous evening) and having just woken up, I was no doubt less coherent and maybe more defensive than I would be, say, after breakfast or mid-morning.  Plus I was trying to take in all the details, and with the above-mentioned delayed reaction, at times, it took me awhile to figure out which one was speaking, even though there weren’t that many students on hand.  There was also this minor jerky effect from any movements, so I had to really concentrate to avoid getting distracted by the movements, the newness of Skying, plus seeing my own live-action upper body on the screen in front of me (lower left corner) that was also moving.  When I’m teaching, I’m usually not so self-conscious.  But then there are those days you wish you could be invisible or elsewhere...

Overall it was a great experience.  Just wished a few things I had said off the cuff I could take back or clarify.  I’m sure this happens when I’m teaching too like if I make a joke that no one picks up on, or make a quasi political comment that could easily be taken out of context.  But life is all about learning, and thanks to Ohio University, I just learned a new skill—how to Skype.   I can only get better at it.  In fact, I then called two brothers in two different states that same day and asked them, “Do You Skype?  It’s easy!” I even got both of them Skyping for their first time that very day!

A few days later, I got an email from Frederick Lewis, Associate Professor at School of Media Arts & Studies at Ohio University who confirmed that his proposal for filming “Home for Hari Raya" is nearing final approval, that the screenplay adaptation is in progress, and that the connections with UiTM is being strengthened.  His team of film (and drama?) students from Ohio University will be using UiTM Shah Alam as a logistical base for the filming project in December.  This is what I wanted to hear, that everything is on track.

That’ll be another new experience that I’m looking forward to in 2012!
—Borneo Expat Writer

*Update, the 20th anniversary of Lovers and Strangers Revisited

**Links to my website, to MPH online for orders for all three of my books, including my latest, Spirit of Malaysia and to the French translation of Lovers and Strangers Revisited, Trois autres Malaisie.  Thanks!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Trois autres Malaisie—Reviewed in easyvoyage.com


Here's the third book review of Trois autres Malaisie, the French translation of Lovers and Strangers Revisited, from easyvoyage.com. The review is also below.
Livre: Trois autres Malaisie

Notre sélection Livre de la semaine

Trois autres Malaisie

Trois autres Malaisie

Un livre a le pouvoir de faire voyager son lecteur, tout en restant immobile. Et c'est particulièrement le cas de Trois autres Malaisie. Ce recueil de quatorze nouvelles permet de découvrir les trois principaux visages de la population malaise. Qu'il soit Malais, Chinois ou Indien, chacun possède une histoire, des coutumes et des traditions... des origines différentes qui contribuent à la force du pays. A travers 14 nouvelles, le livre relatent des histoires de la vie. On apprécie particulièrement le choc des cultures relaté dans Mat Salleh, nouvelle présente dans la partie malaise du livre ; tout comme celle des amoureux déchirés par la routine quotidienne, que l'on trouve dans la partie chinoise du recueil. Ces histoires ont été écrites par Robert Raymer, adopté par la Malaisie depuis plus de 20 ans, et qui vit aujourd'hui sur l'île de Bornéo avec femme et enfants. Facile et rapide à lire, on en ressort grandi. Cet ouvrage est disponible au prix de 18,85 € sur le site troisautresmalaisie.blogspot.com.
Note : 
Prix moyen : 18,85 €

             

*Update, the 20th anniversary of Lovers and Strangers Revisited, my collection of short stories set in Malaysia

**Update: Book orders for Trois autres Malaisie  E-book orders.  Or recommend it to your friends, especially those who would like to know more about Malaysia or have an interest in Southeast Asia.
  
Here's a link to the intro and excerpts, and to four reviews of Trois Autres Malaisie in eurasie.net, Malaisie.org, easyvoyage.com, and Petit Futé mag.

***Here’s an update to the French blog about Trois autres Malaisie and my meeting the French translator Jerome Bouchaud in Kuching, and my involvement in a French documentary for Arte (June 2017) on The Sensual Malaysia of Somerset Maugham.

****Links to my website, to MPH online for orders for all three of my books, including my latest, Spirit of Malaysia and to the French translation of Lovers and Strangers Revisited, Trois autres Malaisie.  Thanks!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Confirmed—“Home for Hari Raya” and “Only in Malaysia” both being taught at Ohio University

“Home for Hari Raya” and “Only in Malaysia” from Lovers and Strangers Revisited are both being taught at Ohio University this semester.  Two weeks ago I blogged about “Only in Malaysia”and also being invited to Skype with the students in a “Exploring Malaysia's Diversity through Film and Fiction" taught by Habibah Ashari PhD, Tun Abdul Razak Chair at the Center for International Studies. 

Now it’s on, this coming Monday (as a trial) and on Wednesday live, both public holidays here in Sarawak, so being wide awake and coherent at 6:30am will be an even bigger challenge.  On school days my wife gets me out of bed at 5:30ish to help with the boys. But first she must help me set up a Skype account and help me practice this weekend.  I know, about time!

This is the second “Home for Hari Raya”-Ohio University connection.  In December 2011, I was informed by Frederick Lewis, a professor of film/video at Ohio University that he and his students will be adapting my short story “Home for Hari Raya” into a film


Just realized that this is the fourth university where I’ve been invited to meet with students who are studying at least one of my short stories—three in Malaysia, and now one in the US via Skype.  One was informal, class room settings, mostly answering questions, another I gave a lecture about the symbolism in "Smooth Stones", which I later turned into a blog for the blog series The Story Behind the Story.  

The first, however, was rather daunting, in a theater set up for over 100 students plus other staff who came, including one who was psychoanalyzing me (in front of all these students!) and jumping to wild conclusions, finding so-called phallic symbols in everything, from a dead cockroach in "Symmetry" to the umbrella in "On Fridays".  I told him, it was a rainy day!  Later, he presented his paper at a short story conference in the UK (he refused to show me the working paper until after he presented it) and then eventually he had it published, first online through his university, and then in journal.  When I finally read it, I thought, oh my god!  They say what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger.


So now I must mentally prepare myself for these students from Ohio University, most of whom probably have never been to Malaysia or read anything set there prior to reading my two stories.  Should be an adventure.
2012: New adventures—new opportunities.  And 18 days to go to see if my novel The Resurrection of Jonathan Brady advances to the semi-finals of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award 2012.  Should be an exciting month of April, with taxes due and website makeover way overdo, my tenth wedding anniversary, and the Faulkner-Wisdom Novel Award deadline, and the list keeps getting longer and we're only into the first week...  
   —Borneo Expat Writer



*Update: Ohio University posted HHR on YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=3j1_tDLM2Ms (It starts at 3:16, so scroll back to the beginning)

**Update, the 20th anniversary of Lovers and Strangers Revisited

***Links to my website, to MPH online for orders for all three of my books, including my latest, Spirit of Malaysia and to the French translation of Lovers and Strangers Revisited, Trois autres Malaisie.  Thanks!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Borneo Post: Writing Your Life Stories Workshop—Kuching! 23 June 2012

Yesterday, 3 April 2012, The Borneo Post announced my upcoming Writing Your Life Stories Workshop—Kuching! 28 April 2012 (*postponed to 23 June, 1:30-5) under the heading “American author to conduct writing workshop at ICATS”.

Kuching-based American author Robert Raymer will be conducting a “Writing Your Life Stories Workshop” in Kuching at ICATS/PPKS from 9am to noon on April 28. 1:30-5 on June 23

The fees are RM120 adults(*RM100 for groups of three who register together in advance) and RM100 for full time students.  ICATS/PPKS is located at Jalan Canna, Off Jalan Wan Alwi, Tabuan Jaya.

Raymer, who did a workshop in December and a series of three workshops in KK last year, will take participants through several story starting techniques and some pre-writing probing to help bring your stories alive, plus give tips on story structure, organising and editing to make their writing readable. 
 
Named as one of the “50 Expats You Should Know” by Expatriate Lifestyle, Raymer has taught creative writing for 13 years at two Malaysian universities, acted as a judge in short story competitions including the 2009 MPH National Short Story Awards, published over 500 short stories and articles, and conducted numerous workshops on creative writing.  

He is the author of Spirit of Malaysia, Tropical Affairs, and Lovers and Strangers Revisited, winner of 2009 Popular-The Star Reader’s Choice Award, taught in universities, and his works are now translated into French

His short story “Neighbours” is being taught in SPM Literature in English from 2008-2014.  Currently his novel The Resurrection of Jonathan Brady has advanced to the Quarterfinals of the on-going AmazonBreakthrough Novel Award 2012.

To confirm your place, in the writing workshop send your name, email address, contact phone number to robert@borneoexpatwriter.com 

For full details and for plenty of writing tips go to the events section of Raymer’s website www.borneoexpatwriter.com.


*Announcement:  New workshop in KK on 17 June 2012!

**If you are interested to bring one of my writing workshops to your organizations or association in Sabah/Sarawak/West Malaysia/Singapore/Brunei please contact me at robert@borneoexpatwriter.com  Thank you.
***Here the link to my website, to MPH online for orders for all three of my books, including my latest, Spirit of Malaysia and for the French translation of Lovers and Strangers Revisited  Trois autres Malaisie.