Book nerds, rejoice! KL's foremost festival of ideas gets cooler

Literary director of The Cooler Lumpur Festival, Umapagan Ampikaipakan — Pictures courtesy of the Cooler Lumpur Festival
Literary director of The Cooler Lumpur Festival, Umapagan Ampikaipakan — Pictures courtesy of the Cooler Lumpur Festival

KUALA LUMPUR, June 17 — Asia’s premier celebration of ideas, The Cooler Lumpur Festival, returns to the capital. Presented by creative media shop PopDigital, British Council and BMW Group Malaysia, the festival will take place from June 20 to 22 at Publika.

While last year’s inaugural edition, #WORD, celebrated the written and spoken word in its varied forms, this year the festival has expanded to include activities ranging from the abstract to the experimental.

Codenamed #FAST this round, the festival aims to be a catalyst for new connections and ideas by gathering writers, artists, musicians and thinkers from Malaysia and around the world to share and engage with each other.

The three-day event will comprise intimate workshops for festival-goers and panel discussions on a wide range of topics such as storytelling, graphic novel writing, idea generation, media and journalism and cultural examination.

British Council, the official literary partner of The Cooler Lumpur Festival this year, has built on their participation in the 2013 Edinburgh World Writers’ Conference by inviting award-winning writers, journalists and graphic artists.

The international speakers include Miguel Syjuco, the Filipino author and Man Asian Literary Prize winner for his novel, Ilustrado; British journalist and host of the Literary Salon, Damien Barr; the Filipino graphic novelist and illustrator, Andrew Drilon; and Nay Phone Latt, a Burmese blogger and activist, and one of the 2010 TIME 100 Heroes.

From Malaysia and Singapore, participating writers and artists include Shamini Flint, author of the Inspector Singh novels; Dr Gwee Li Sui, a Singaporean literary critic, poet, and graphic artist; the illustrator Boey Chee Ming, author of graphic novel When I Was A Kid; and independent film-maker and publisher Amir Muhammad.

The Cooler Lumpur Festival’s literary director Umapagan Ampikaipakan believes that now is the time and place for such a festival because “we believe in the irresistible and contagious power of a great idea and the latent potential it holds to inspire awareness, change, and transformation.”

While words and literature are the driving force behind The Cooler Lumpur Festival, this year the focus point is the fundamental inspiration behind all writing, that of the idea.

A single good idea can launch a thousand novels, poems, plays and other works of literature. So why not drop by this weekend and see if you, too, get inspired?

#FAST: The Cooler Lumpur Festival, 20-22 June 2014 at Publika, Solaris Dutamas

For the full festival itinerary, visit