Encourage self-publishing: writers

National 3 minutes, 27 seconds


SELF-PUBLISHING should be encouraged to promote writing in the country, said authors of Spilled Ink: Rain.

One of the authors, Fitri Rosli, said she has not read any books written in the sultanate.

“People always say write what you know but I find it hard about Brunei since I haven’t read anything that is written in Brunei. There should be more self-publications which will inspire more people to write, ” said the 22-year-old, who is also editor-in-chief of the Writers’ Club of Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD).

The Writers’ Club of UBD gave out their books for free after an initial run of 100, but ran out of stock in a couple of days.

They planned to print 50 more copies depending on the demand.

The 10-page publication contains 15 creative writing pieces from students of various faculties from the club.

When Fitri founded the writing club, the idea was to “motivate people to get their names out there”.

She said the club was formed to improve her writing after taking a creative writing class for her English Literature degree. It is her first experience of being in a writing group since there was none at her secondary school.

“A lot of them in the club want to write, and one of them said they want to be journalist, they seem interested so I hope they will be full-time writers,” she said.

The writing club has around 55 members since it started late last year.

Muhammad Khalil Hazazi Abd Latif, who joined the club to rekindle his passion for writing, said he wanted to find out if he still has the ability to write.

The writer for the publication and treasurer of the club said his confidence in writing grew after meeting with peers.

“We aspire to write books or short story collections to see if we can be authors in our own right, since it is one of our dreams,” he said, adding that he hopes to release a book about life in Brunei.

“The point of the writers club is to create a network of writers in UBD, outside UBD is a whole different story. Not many of us know about other clubs outside of the university.”

He was positive that there are people with writing talent, but they need to showcase it.

“I met a lot of people who wanted to write stories, from romance to comedy, they have the capability but they need the push to promote and publish it.”

Casey Lam, creative director for Green Brunei and editor of The Writers’ Club (UBD) admited that she is unfamiliar with local authors.

“I do know that there are people who love writing just as I do. They are simply in hiding. I’ve found and met really good writers and I see potential in all of them, they just don’t know it yet,” said the 22-year-old.

When it comes to self-published writers, she said it is difficult for people to open up in an environment that does not encourage people to express themselves, especially in print.

“If we can have an environment, no matter how small, where a group of people share the same interests, passion, and joy in writing, then I think people will open up.”

For Nurhidayatul Aqmar Hj Morsid, 21, writing has always been a passion.

The student admitted that she is not up-to-date with local writing either in Malay or English.

“I do believe though, that there are many talented writers here in Brunei, the fact that I’ve read some works by my friends and by people online in their blogs made me believe that.”

Nurhidayatul observed that most bestselling books sold in shops are non-local, and urged more creative writers to promote their work.

“I don’t think I would be able to include and show my piece in our published work, if I didn’t join the club or if the club didn’t exist.

“People would be able to see there is a great deal of number of people who write, and perhaps the idea of local writers will not be so surprising to the public,” she added.

The Brunei Times