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George Town Literary Festival is the largest international literary festival in Malaysia which is supported and funded by the Penang State Government. Since its first edition in 2011 with only five writers, GTLF has grown to become Malaysia’s largest literary festival and one of the best literary festivals in the world.


Held annually in the World UNESCO Heritage site of George Town, GTLF is one of the last bastions of free speech in Malaysia and has a specific focus on
world literature. The festival invites local and international writers, poets and performers to engage in topics and themes that are crucial to the world we live in. GTLF believes in the power of free speech and expression and is committed to being one of the most urgent, vital and provocative literary festivals in the region.

GTLF 2019
Having celebrated the momentous change of government last year with “The State of Freedom”, the gaze of this year’s George Town Literary Festival is trained decidedly on the future.
Consequently this year's theme, “forewords/afterwords”, engages notions of beginnings and transitions, with a strong emphasis on history. We celebrate pivotal moments in modern history: the centenary of the end of the First World War which precipitated profound changes around the world, not least in the realm of culture and ideas, such as the May Fourth Movement in China and the Weimar Republic and the birth of Bauhaus in Germany. Also significant for its global reverberations are the 40th anniversary of the Iranian Revolution and the epoch changing Fall of the Berlin Wall 30 years ago. Back home, half a century has passed since the May 13th incident — a trauma that continues to shape the ideological contours of our contemporary reality.

Abdourahman Waberi | Adriana Nordin Manan | Afsan Chowdhury | Al Jafree Md Yusop | Al-Mustaqeem M. Radhi | Ann Lee | Afsan Chowdhury | Ameena Hussein | Bernice Chauly | Carlomar Arcangel Daoana | Charlotte Van den Broeck | Darrel McLeod | Dhinesha Karthigesu | Eliot Weinberger | Fahmi Mustaffa | Goenawan Mohamad | Hafiz Hamzah | Hamid Ismailov | Hiromi Ito | Ho Sok Fong | Izzudin Ramli | Jack Malik | Jason Erik Lundberg | Jennifer Kronovet | Jokha Alharti | Jomo Kwame Sundaram | Julie Janson | Kamini Ramachandran | Kim Yideum | Lukas Rietzschel | Nam Ron | Nana | Nikola Madzirov | Rebecca E. Karl | Regina Ibrahim | Saras Manickam | Subhas | Suhaimi Sulaiman | Tee Kim Tong | Wan Hamidi Hamid | Zhou Hau Liew + more to be announced soon!

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