The George Town Literary Festival (GTLF) took home The International Excellence Awards 2018: The Literary Festival Award at The London Book Fair 2018.
The results were announced during the International Excellence Awards ceremony on the opening night of The London Book Fair 2018 on Tuesday 10 April. The ceremony was held in The Conference Centre, Olympia, London.
GTLF emerged victorious, being the first Southeast Asian literary festival to win the prestigious
award, putting George Town firmly on the global literary map. This was not GTLF’s first
appearance at the awards; the festival also made the shortlist in 2017. The two other shortlisted
finalists in 2018 were the Joseph Conrad International Literary Festival from Poland and the
Druskininkai Poetic Fall from Lithuania.
“In a strong field, George Town Literary Festival stands out as a vibrant, diverse and brave
festival that engages with a wide community of voices, speaking to the world from a complex
region,” the judges ruled, unanimously conferring GTLF with the award.
The initiative to create a literary festival in George Town, Penang, was spearheaded by the
Chief Minister of Penang, Lim Guan Eng in 2011. “The George Town Literary Festival is to
encourage the literary arts to flower and flourish freely in Penang, for writers and poets to share
their words, and for audiences to be engaged and inspired. I had confidence that even though
we started with five writers we would grow because Penang has the talent, creativity and
knowledge in order to produce an outstanding literary festival,” said Lim at the press conference
announcing the win.
GTLF is the largest literary festival in Malaysia. It recorded a total of 4,500 attendees in 2017,
the highest number for the three-day festival since its first edition in 2011.
Building on its success, the 2018 edition will be four days and will take place on 22-25
November in George Town, Penang.