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Malaysian festival puts Asian literature in the spotlight

George Town event highlights rising writers and regional trends

The George Town Literary Festival attracted readers with an eclectic selection of books by Gerakbudaya Bookshop. (Photo by Marco Ferrarese)

PENANG, Malaysia In a beautifully refurbished colonial building next to George Town's coastal thoroughfare, a tight-knit yet diverse crowd is hungry for answers. A microphone is passed around, and people rock nervously in their chairs as they wait to throw questions at a row of international authors and editors, who are animated after a heated discussion. Above their heads, the word "monsters" poses a question: Are writers really monsters in the age of fear and globalization?

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