Publishing Perspectives Staff Report
A Launch for ‘Dragonlore’The Malaysian stand at Frankfurter Buchmesse next week is at Hall 6.0 / D13, and will feature a number of special events.
For example, there’s a daily business breakfast there, from 9 to 10 a.m., October 18 through 22, for professional networking with the National Book Council of Malaysia (MBKM).
And in two instances on October 20, there are events that relate to the forthcoming staging of the Selangor International Book Fair (December 1 to 10). Selangor is one of 14 states in Malaysia, and its public-facing book fair at Shah Alam’s MBSA Convention Center drew a reported 229,832 people and 225 exhibitors in its debut.
On Frankfurt Friday, there’s a chance to hear from the state’s chief minister on “The Bigger Picture” at 12:30 p.m. and a presentation about the Selangor International Book Fair itself at 3:30 p.m.
On Frankfurt Thursday, October 19, the Malaysian stand will have an event called “Lenggong’s Paleolithic Pride,” a presentation about Perak Man, the oldest human skeleton found in Malaysia, a discovery made by archaeologists in the Lenggong Valley of Ulu Perak. Believed to be some 11,000 years old, that 1991 discovery will be the focus of a session set for 3:30 p.m.
And on the opening day at Frankfurt, October 18, “East Meets West: The Dragonlore” is a 3:30 p.m. program introducing the story anthology Dragonlore by Ninot Aziz, with the author on-hand to discuss her work.
Dragonlore–which comprises the work of 15 storytellers from 11 nations along with the work of two illustrators and three translators–was edited by her with Johnny Gillett and has the distinction of being one of the works inscribed in Nanofiche archival storage technology for the Canadian entrepreneur and self-publishing writer Samuel Peralta’s Lunar Codex program. That effort is to send three collections of cultural work to the moon on a trio of SpaceX missions.
Ninot Aziz is also the author of an illustrated Malaysian-folkloric title, Bentala Naga, which this year has appeared in an Italian translation by Maria Grazia Belttrami as Bentala, Regina Dei Naga: Una leggenda Makyong. That work is based on the northern state of Kelantan’s mak yong, an ancient Malay form of dance-drama.
Zalina Abdul Aziz–Ninot Aziz is her pen name–is a 58-year-old PR consultant, and has said that she’s drawn to creating narratives that reflect Asian folklore.
She encountered Frankfurt when she was a guest with National Book Council director Mohd Khair Ngadiron on Frankfurter Buchmesse’s podcast The Hof, and made her first trip to the trade show last year. That’s where she met translator Beltrami and Rita Angeleli of LetterarieMenti in Italy. And the Dragonlore anthology now has the imprimatur of a letter from Malaysia’s national laureate, Muhammad Hj Salleh.
Ninot Aziz says that she was inspired to look for potential international rights sales for Dragonlore in one of the meetings she had at the Malaysian stand’s breakfasts last year.
“At a ‘rights clinic’ organized by the National Book Council of Malaysia in 2022,” she says, “there were key tips I picked up from Adibah Omar and Hasri Hasan. Apart from being very focused on our introduction, Hasri emphasized that in addition to selling trade rights, we should seek out opportunities for collaboration. This turned out to be an advice that dominated our plans for 2023.”
And she concedes that her trip to Frankfurt last year “involved intense preparation. It required funding and a fair bit of courage as I was not really a traveler.
“Traveling alone also meant I must be equipped to handle promoting our books, navigating the book fair, and speaking to publishers from abroad.”
One result of her effort, however, she says, is that Dragonlore is expected to be published in 2024 in Turkish, Mandarin, and Filipino.
Additional events at the Malaysian stand during Frankfurter Buchmesse include “RNT: Leadership Luminary” on October 19 at 12:30 p.m. and a session called “In Depth With the Institute of Islamic Understanding of Malaysia” on October 21 at 12:30 p.m.