Book by Sarawakian writer long-listed for international literary award

From Kulleh Grasi

By Chew Lip Song

A COLLECTION of poems by Sarawakian author Kulleh Grasi has been longlisted for the Best Translated Book Awards, a prestigious American literary prize.

Tell Me Kenyalang, originally written in Malay and other indigenous languages was translated into English by literary translator and writer, Pauline Fan, the Malay Mail reported.

The author, whose real name is Royston John Kulleh said his poems revolve around the themes of mythology, humanity and nature that were mostly recorded and experienced by himself. He writes in Bahasa Malaysia, Iban, and several other indigenous languages of trans-national Borneo.

According to Kulleh, 36, the book was a culmination of his poems that he had been working on since 2002 and was published last year by Circumference Book, a New York-based publishing house. Translating the book took two years.

“We took that long as we needed to make sure the words and terms translated into the English language were correct.

“My two editors who are based in New York also made sure that the poems were good before proceeding with publishing the book,” added Kuleh who hailed from Kapit.