Friday 14 June 2013

My interview with Usman Awang from 1998

The above was published on 2 December 1998 in the New Straits Times
It was the only time I ever met him.

Almost 15 years later (who wouldda thunk it!) I now publish a collection of his short fiction and poetry:

I wanted the title to have 'nakal' because the word 'kenakalan' is the one I remember most from the introduction to a compilation of his which was published by Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka, and which I read as a teenager. I thought it was an odd word to use for someone with the venerable title of Sasterawan Negara. But when I read the contents of that book (especially that poem with the pun on 'punai') I appreciated how apt it could be. (But it was much later that I came across his short story "Betisnya Bunting Padi" and was pleasantly startled by its – but I suppose this is a spoiler – homoeroticism). I initially thought of Kerja-Kerja Nakal as a title but the editor of this selection Hafiz Hamzah wisely changed it to Yang Nakal-Nakal.

Thanks so much to Haslina Usman for consenting to this project!

More details on Yang Nakal-Nakal here. It launches this Sunday

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