KUALA LUMPUR, May 23 — Sixteen years and four other locations later, independent bookstore Silverfish Books is moving... again. This time they are leaving their first-floor Bangsar shophouse location to Bangsar Village II.
Silverfish Books' owner Raman Krishnan explains, “We were approached by MyCreative, a government investment arm, to help fund the business and we took up the offer.”
The relocation will be a new chapter for the store which first opened its doors in 1999 as an independent shop focussed on literature, philosophy, and Malaysian writing in English.
“This will be our fifth location,” says Raman. “We have been constantly on the move, at the mercy of landlords who keep raising the rent. But this is a different kind of location with better visibility and traffic.
Book lovers have about a week to take nostalgia-infused trips to the current space in Jalan Telawi before the relocation next month.
Raman himself has many fond memories of the bookstore. He says, “We have always had author readings, conversations, and workshops at all our former spaces, and we will continue to do so. We have been doing it for 16 years; no reason to stop. So this will continue at our new space.”
Plans for the new space include making more books available and holding more events. Raman says, “It will be modern, yet retro, with plenty of books. Silverfish Festival is coming up in August and September; we will conduct many of these activities during the two months.”
The first activity to kick off the move is Reading is Magical which is part of the Children’s Books Week organised by Yusof Gajah Picture Book House. A fortnight of activities highlighting the glorious art of picture books has been planned for June 1-14.
Raman notes that the conceptualisation and execution of Children’s Book Week was largely courtesy of Linda Tan Lingard of Yusof Gajah Literary Agency.
“Linda came up with the slogan for the event. It is based on Hayati Hanif and Evi Shelvia’s children’s book, The Castle Library, about a little girl who travels the world but is ridden with wanderlust. The Castle Library becomes her escape, where she reads books to fulfil this urge. That’s where Linda got the name Reading is Magical; it reflects the intentions of the Children’s Books Week — to get kids excited about reading, to find it magical.”
Children’s books authors and illustrators featured during Reading is Magical include Yusof Gajah, Emila Yusof, Tan Vay Fern, and Nor Azhar Ishak. The event will also involve other creative children’s activities such as storytelling, batik painting, Japanese puppetry, tree-collage and puppet making workshops.
For Raman, the challenge in curating an event for children’s books versus adult literature is due to both groups reading different things. He says, “Children are small people and adults are big people. Children respond more to illustrations and visuals. We have always catered to both, and working with Linda on the Children’s Books Week helps with the efforts to spread the love of reading. This would be the third children’s event we will be organising with Linda, and we hope for a better response, as we move to a more visible and accessible place like Bangsar Village II.”
Reading is Magical at the Children’s Book Week
June 1-14, 2015
Silverfish Books (new address starting from June 1), Level 2, Bangsar Village II (near Starbucks)
Visit www.childrensbookweek.org for more information on Children’s Book Week. Sign up for Silverfish Book’s mailing list at www.silverfishbooks.com/Silverfish/ to learn more about future events and activities.