A new month arrives, and with it, more literary events and art talks to keep curious minds busy in the Klang Valley.

From indie bookshops to the National Library of Malaysia right to the return of the KL Alternative Bookfest and a “lecture performance”, there is no shortage of major book events and art discussions to pencil down in the diary.

Here are eight highlights:

Festival Sastera Kanak-Kanak 2019
Where: National Library of Malaysia, Jalan Tun Razak, Kuala Lumpur
When: Oct 4-6, 9am onwards
This festival is being held in conjunction with the declaration of Kuala Lumpur as Unesco’s 2020 World Book Capital. The fest’s programme, organised by the National Library of Malaysia and Malaysian Book Publishers Association, aims to promote children’s and young adult literature. This book genre gets the focus since it is an important component in encouraging life-long learning as well as to develop the quality of local works. Events for the weekend include storytelling competitions, comic drawing workshops, meet-and-greet sessions, theatre performances, literature discussions and more. FB: National Library of Malaysia.

Reading Group: The Digital Human
Where: Malaysia Design Archive, Zhongshan, KL
When: Oct 5, 3pm
Presented by O for Other and Malaysia Design Archive, this month’s Reading Group will tackle Chapters 3, 7 and 8 of Tom Boellstorff’s book Coming Of Age In Second Life (2008). Boellstorff was an Indonesian digital anthropologist behind the ethnography of residents in Second Life, an immersive life simulator that was at its peak inhabited by more than a million users. The group will examine his exploration of a digital space, discuss the relevance of the ethnographic eye in the digital age, and explore the meanings of “virtual selves”. Led by Ong Kar Jin, a tech and policy analyst. FB: Malaysian Design Archive.

The KL Alternative Bookfest 2019, featuring 21 booths, offers a wide array of local indie books, specialist publications and an assortment of used books. Photo: Padajiwa

Kuala Lumpur Alternative Bookfest
Where: Publika, Solaris Dutamas, KL
When: Oct 4-6, 10am to 8pm
Looking for something a little different from your standard reading fare? Don’t miss the Kuala Lumpur Alternative Bookfest (KLAB), held in conjunction with the Cooler Lumpur festival this year, returns for its 11th edition. This book fest celebrates the best of Malaysia’s alternative literary scene. There will be 21 booths at this year’s KLAB, with appearances by many familiar alternative publishers such as Buku Fixi, Buku Semalam, DuBook Press, Gadis Buku + Terbitan Langit + Fagiyuu, Gerakbudaya, Kedai Saharil, Legasi Oakheart, Lejen Press, Maple Comics, Obscura + Padajiwa, Studio Anai-Anai, The Bibliophile, Rabak Lit and Punggok Agency + Laras 99. Apart from a broad survey of contemporary alternative Malaysian books, the KLAB will also be featuring vendors specialising in rare out-of-print books, fanzine culture booths and imported Indonesian books. FB: KL Alternative Bookfest.

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In conjunction with Unesco’s International Year of Indigenous Languages 2019, the Centre for Malaysian Indigenous Studies in KL is hosting the Voices Of The People: An Exhibition Of Indigenous Languages Of Malaysia series, which runs till Oct 13. Photo: The Star/Azlina Abdullah

Voices Of The People Talks: On Vitality of Indigenous Languages of Malaysia
Where: Centre For Malaysian Indigenous Studies, 11, Section 16/4, KL
When: Oct 5, 11am
Three academic speakers will be handling this talk series, held in conjunction with the Voices Of The People exhibition at the Centre For Malaysian Indigenous Studies in KL. Dr Roshidah Hassan from Universiti Malaya’s faculty of languages and linguistics will speak about the vitality of the Orang Asli languages in Gerik, Pahang. This will be followed by Universiti Teknologi Petronas academic/researcher Roselind Wan’s studies on Tekna, the Kayan community’s oral tradition in Sarawak. Universiti Malaya’s associate professor Dr Paolo Coluzzi, whose areas of interest are endangered languages, language planning, the linguistic landscape and nationalism, will round up the day’s talks. His presentation will discuss the ethnolinguistic vitality of some of the most important indigenous languages spoken in Malaysia, focusing on the languages that the presenter has looked at in his research: Bidayuh, Mah Meri and Baba Malay. FB: Centre For Malaysian Indigenous Studies.

Architecture And Independence
Where: Lit Books, Petaling Jaya
When: Oct 6, 4pm
From 2001-2006, architectural historian Lai Chee Kien conducted a series of interviews with key architects, engineers and artists who contributed to the landscape of Kuala Lumpur at the time of pre-and-post Merdeka. They worked on 10 projects, including Merdeka Stadium, Merdeka Park, Universiti of Malaya, Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka, and Stadium Negara. In a collaboration between architect/author/researcher Ang Chee Cheong and Lai, these 17 interviews have been edited into a single volume titled The Merdeka Interviews (published by Pertubuhan Akitek Malaysia). Ang will be discussing this book, with Mariana Isa (author/researcher) moderating the session. This talk is organised by Imagined Malaysia and Lit Books. FB: Lit Books.

Book Discussion: Orientalism
Where: Tintabudi, Zhongshan, KL
When: Oct 13, noon
Palestinian American intellectual Edward Said’s Orientalism has been called one of the most important books ever written about our divided world. First published more than three decades ago, it offered a groundbreaking critique of the West’s historical, cultural, and political perceptions of the East, and has since has become a modern classic. The discussion will be led by Tintabudi founder-manager Nazir Harith Fadillah. FB: Tintabudi.

Name Laundering Lecture Performance
Where: Five Arts Centre, TTDI, Kuala Lumpur (Entry RM30)
When: Oct 11, 8.30pm
In this unique lecture performance, Jakarta-based artists/curators Irwan Ahmett and Tita Salina reexamine the relations between Indonesia and Singapore in the Straits of Malacca, one of the most important waterways in South-East Asia. Responding to state and border controls created from colonialism, nationalism and capitalism, they propose eight ways to penetrate the borders of Singapore without passing official immigration channels – inspired by historical acts of seafaring, smuggling, subversion and “sumpah”. FB: Five Arts Centre.

Ilham Conversations with Mella Jaarsma
Where: Ilham Gallery, Kuala Lumpur
When: Oct 13, 3pm
Mella Jaarsma is a co-founder of Cemeti Art House Gallery, one of Indonesia’s foremost contemporary art institutions, which she runs with her artist husband Nindityo Adipurnomo. Jaarsma hails from the Netherlands but now resides in Jogjakarta. Her artistic practice – for over 35 years in Indonesia – revolves around the body and its coverings, as potent signifiers of identity, and social and cultural politics. Her work The Follower is featured in the group exhibit Fracture/Fiction: Selections From The Ilham Collection, which is currently showing at the gallery. Jaarsma will be in KL to talk about her art career and life as an artist and art activist in this region. FB: Ilham Gallery.