Great Writers

What is ‘greatness’ when you relate it with literature? Who are the great writers of our time? I believe these are tough questions that you can give to anyone. If I were to ask you, who are the great writers in Malaysia, who would you choose? I’m sure everyone will have their own list, and I’m sure for those who don’t read that many literary works will just pick writers from the “Sasterawan Negara” list (even though he/she might had never even read any of their work).

It is easier to choose the best because we think the best will always be the best. If that is true, then let us look at some of these names: William Golding, Jean Paul Satre, Rudyard Kipling, E.M Forester, and Kawabata. These writers were once literary giants of their time. For example, Satre brought existentialism onto the global stage and was considered an important thinker of the postwar era. However, like many philosophical and literary movements, existentialism became outdated, and was replaced with structuralism, post structuralism, and postmodernism. New writers came into the literary mainstream and became the contemporary Western giants. Salman Rushdie, A.S Byatt, Martin Amis, Thomas Pynchon, Don Delillo, Cormac McCarthy, Doris Lessing etc. Will any of them remain as giants? That is just something we have to wait and see.

What about our writers; is Keris Mas, Shahnon Ahmad, A.Samad Said, Usman Awang, Muhammad Haji Salleh etc, still considered as great writers? Or are they already outdated ? Are the new giants like Faisal Tehrani or Nisah Haron will continue to be giants in the future? Time will tell. And you, dear readers, will decide.


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