DBP to print works of local authors

National 1 minute, 46 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

THE Language and Literature Bureau (DBP) has signed an agreement with 21 local authors to publish their books in 2016.

Acting Director of the Language and Literature Bureau Hjh Nortijah Hj Mohd Hassan signed the agreements with the writers yesterday during the 10-day Brunei Book Festival held at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Sports Complex.

The books cover a wide range of genres, including science, literature, poetry, children’s stories and comics, written in both Malay and English.

Hjh Nortijah said the DBP prides itself on keeping the culture of reading alive in Brunei, as well as promoting the use of the Malay language.

She added that the art of writing in the sultanate has lagged behind other developing countries, mainly because writers stick to well-established genres such as love stories, family stories and collections of poetry.

In order to create a thriving literary community, local writers must think outside the box and explore other genres, which require more research.

The acting DBP director also urged writers to promote their work through social media, saying they should utilise the blogging platform as a useful tool to solicit feedback from readers.

“Many experts predict the end of the publishing industry with the advent of e-books, and this is something the Language and Literature Bureau takes very seriously,” she said.

In order for publishing to thrive, writers and mainstream media must make efforts to shine a light on local authors to give them exposure beyond Brunei, said Hjh Nortijah.

Noor Afinah Abu, one of the authors who signed a publishing deal yesterday, said she was thrilled her first children’s book, Pengembaraan Si Comot, would be published by DBP.

“Although I have written other books before, this is my first children’s book and DBP has promised to publish at least 600 copies,” she said.

Noor Afinah said writing remains a waning art in Brunei, as not many people have the dedication to sit down and write novels.

“Among young people there is less interest these days. But there are still older writer communities, like our writer’s group in Tutong, that is still active.”

The Brunei Times