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Bernice Chauly

(Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia, 1968) is a Malaysian writer, poet, actor, photographer and filmmaker. She graduated with a B.Ed in English Literature and TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language) from the University of Winnipeg, Canada, and has worked extensively in the arts for over 20 years. Of Chinese and Punjabi parentage, her work stems from the desire to tell stories, and she has worked with marginalised communities from sex workers and refugees to indigenous peoples, in mediums that incorporate film, photography and prose. She has published two collections of poetry, going there and coming back (1997), The Book of Sins (2008), a collection of short stories, Lost in KL (2008) and a critically-acclaimed memoir Growing Up With Ghosts (2011), an exploration of grief, personal and political history, and bloodlines. She works in both Bahasa Malaysia and English, and her work has been exhibited, screened, published locally and internationally. She is also the founder of Readings and CeritAku, two live literary platforms in Kuala Lumpur, now in its eighth year. She lives in Kuala Lumpur with her two daughters and she keeps a blog of her work at bernicechauly.wordpress.com.

(WU 2012)

Archive available for: Bernice Chauly

  • Winternachten 2012 – Winternacht 1

    Wet Dreams on a Winter's Night

    Four liberated writers about the joys of shamelessness. Petra Stienen hosts a discussion on writing about sex, the narrow-minded reactions of (some) men and their 'je m'en fou' attitude vis-a-vis conservative readers. A conversation without embarrassment, without borders, without rules: four women talking about the joys of shamelessness, sprinkled with spicy anecdotes and fine fragments. In English.

  • Winternachten 2012 – Winternacht 1

    Family Ties

    A discussion between Bernice Chauly (Malaysia) and Edney Silvestre (Brazil) about choking family ties and how religious and cultural pressure destroy dreams and frustrate loves. Host: Nicole Lefever. In English.
    Edney Silvestre replaces Mansoura ez Eldin, who had to cancel for family reasons.

  • Winternachten 2012 – Winternacht 1

    VPRO De Avonden

    In the square in front of the theatre there is De Kas. The whole evening Jeroen van Kan talks with writers at the festival for the VPRO radio programme De Avonden Live. Visitors are allowed to peek freely and listen in. In Dutch and English.

    21.17: Bernice Chauly
    21.35: Ghalia Benali
    22.05: Bejan Matur
    22.15: Rodaan Al Galidi and Chika Unigwe
    22.35: Nazmiye Oral and Kader Abdolah

  • Zuid-Afrika 2010

    Poetry Lunch Hour

    With: Bernice Chauly, Lamis Saidi, Raj Mohan, Vamba Sherif

    Poetry readings by Lamis Saidi (Algeria), Vamba Sherif (Liberia/Netherlands), Raj Mohan (Suriname/Netherlands), Bernice Chauly (Malaysia), and the South-African poets Nunke Khadimo, Mannini Mokhotu, Moenier Adams, Ronelda Kamfer and singer Reba Son.

  • Zuid-Afrika 2010

    Reading in Athol Fugard Theatre Cape Town

    With: Bernice Chauly, Lamis Saidi, Raj Mohan, Vamba Sherif

    An evening with poetry and prose readings by Bernice Chauly (Malaysia), Lamis Saïdi (Algeria), Vamba Sherif (Libera/The Netherlands), Raj Mohan (Suriname/The Netherlands), Urvashi Butalia (India), the singer Reba Son (India), and the South-African authors André Brink, Nunke Khadimo, Mannini Mokhothu and Neo Muyanga.

  • Antillen/Suriname 2010

    Tori fu dya nanga abrawatra - Stories from here and overseas

    With: Alida Neslo, Annemarie Sanches, Bas Heijne, Bernice Chauly, Iman Humaydan, John Wladimir Elskamp, Paremeru, Reggie Baay, Tessa Leuwsha, Yasmine Allas

    For the fourth time Winternachten collaborates with a literary organisation in Suriname for the festival. This year Surinamese and foreign writers perform in On Stage, the drama school of actress Helen Kamperveen. The programme offers music, readings by writers from Suriname and by authors Bas Heijne, Iman Humaydan, Yasmine Allas en Bernice Chauly, representing Winternachten from Lebanon, Malaysia and The Netherlands. An evening full of prose, poetry, talks and music, around the theme 'A Sense of Belonging'.

    Except for this evening for a general audience, the writers will also visit schools, like the schools in the remote village of Brownsweg (Brokopondo). They will there perform together with the popular Surinamese poet and singer Dorus Vrede.

    A closed writer's conference brings the foreign writers together with Surinamese authors together to talk on writers' issues, like 'Writing local - writing global'.

    Performance in On Stage, Wednesday 21 April, 8 p.m., admission is free. Mgr. Wulfinghstraat #5, Paramaribo

  • Antillen/Suriname 2010

    Crusa Lama - Aruba

    With: Anthony Gario & Le Groove, Bas Heijne, Belinda de Veer, Bernice Chauly, Caresse Isings, Iman Humaydan, Luciano Milliard, Victor Mathilda, Yasmine Allas

    Crusa Lama - Papiamento for Crossing the Seas - brings a programme with foreign and Aruban authors and musicians. Belinda de Veer, Luciano Milliard en Caresse Isings - all from Aruba - perform together with the authors who have come to Aruba on behalf of Winternachten international literature festival The Hauge: Bernice Chauly (Malaysia), Bas Heijne (Netherlands), Yasmine Allas (Netherlands/Somalia) and Iman Humaydan (Lebanon). The programme consists of readings by the authors, a conversation with the writers on the theme 'A Sense of Belonging', and musical perormances by Le Groove, with singer Anthony Gario. The programme has been made by the Bibliotéca Nacional (National Library) of Aruba.

    The authors also perform for students, on Monday 19 April, at the Colegio EPI. Here they will read from their work, and have a discussion with the students, moderated by Victor Mathilda and Pancho Geerman.

    The programme starts at 7 p.m. on Sunday 18 April. Admission AFL 5,-. Adress: Hardin Arubiana/Caribiana, Bachstraat # 5, Oranjestad. Information at 00 297 582 1580 or 582 6924, www.bibliotecanacional.aw

  • Antillen/Suriname 2010

    Krusa Laman - Kaminda rais a kue tera/A Sense of Belonging - Curaçao

    With: Bas Heijne, Bernice Chauly, Bòi Antoin, Diana Lebacs, Dolce Música, Iman Humaydan, Johnny Kleinmoedig, Mario Kleinmoedig, Yasmine Allas

    Debate, film and music. Three literary debates betweem two authors. One debate in Dutch, one in Papiamentu and one in English. Theme of the talks is 'Sense of Belonging'. The talented, multi-lingual publicist and activist Mario Kleinmoedig is the moderator. At the end of the evening we see a short impressive fragment from a documentary on the African writer Koulsy Lamko (Tsjaad, 1957). This will put the debates in a special perspective. During the evening, there will be music by the Curaçao group Dolce Música and pianist Johnny Kleinmoedig.

  • Antillen/Suriname 2010

    Krusa Laman - Curaçao

    With: Bas Heijne, Bernice Chauly, Dennis Aalse Ensemble, Diana Lebacs, Elia Isenia, Frouwkje Smit, Iman Humaydan, Roland Colastica, Roy Evers, Shrinivási, Yasmine Allas

    On Curaçao the Fundashon pa Planifikashon di Idioma (Foundation for language planning), is the organisational partner for Winternachten. During the festival Krusa Laman on Curaçao all writers and performers will use their own language. Their words will be projected in the local language, Papiamentu. The translations have been taken care of by the FPI. This year's theme 'A sense of belonging' has been translated as the metaphor Kaminda rais a kue tera.
    This theme is leading for the festival in Curaçao, and will be dealt with from different perspectives. A substheme is migration, and migration in literature. For FPI, the Curaçao anthropologist Richenel Ansano wrote a sensitive essay, Between Love and Terror: Having a Sense of Belonging is no Joke. This essay is available for free for the audience.

    The public library of Curaçao also gives special attention to the theme Kaminda rais a kue tera. On 9 April there will be a festive opening of an exhibition on Krusa Laman and the theme, with all sorts of information on the participating writers and artists, their work, countries of origin, etc..

    Then there are the workshops for secondary school pupils, at the schools that will be visited by the authors. Creative writer Elodie Heloise is preparing the children and students for the festival in workshops. During these workshop the pupils will deal with the theme, and deliver materials for the exhibition in the library.

    Of course the theme A Sense of Belonging is also present in the public performances. There are the readings of the authors, but besides this the visual artist Frouwkje Smit has made an artistic slideshow with pictures of a number of well known and lesser known people from the island, including writers and artists. Al the authors were asked to choose their favourite spot on Curaçao, where they feel most at home. They also chose a text with the spot. The slideshow is combined with music, and will be shown on Friday 16 April in Villa Maria, Scharloo. The versatile artist Roland Colastica will be the M.C. of that evening.

  • Antillen/Suriname 2010

    Crossing the Seas - Sint Maarten

    With: Bas Heijne, Bernice Chauly, Changa Hickinson, Clara Reyes, Iman Humaydan, Lenworth Wilson, Lucinda Audain, Mathilda Richards, Peter Lake, Yasmine Allas

    On Sint Maarten, Winternachten collaborates with the Philipsburg Jubilee Library. Crossing the Seas - as the event is called here, is an evening with readings by writers and poets. The participating authors from Sint Maarten are Peter Lake, Lucinda Audain, Lenworth Wilson Jr. and Mathilda Richards, with music and song by Amin Bouabdelli, Changa Hickinson, Donovan Froston, Erika van Putten and Shanella Romey James. The foreign authors in this programme are Bas Heijne (Netherlands), Yasmine Allas (Netherlands/Somalia), Bernice Chauly (Maleysia) and Iman Humaydan (Lebanon). All texts read by the foreign authors will be projected simultaneously in English translation. The M.C. is Clara Reyes.

    Except for this public programme, the library also organises peformances of the writers in high schools and at the Sint Maarten University.

    Philipsburg Community and Cultural Center, Backstreet. Wednesday 14 April, 7 p.m. Admission is free.