Bernice Chauly is a Malaysian writer, poet and educator. Born in George Town, Penang to Chinese-Punjabi teachers, she read Education, TESL and English Literature in Canada as a government scholar. For over 20 years, she has worked extensively in the creative industries as a writer, teacher, photographer, actor and filmmaker and has won multiple awards for her work and her contribution to the arts in Malaysia.
In 1998, she began organizing literary events, and in 2005, founded Readings, the oldest live literary platform in Kuala Lumpur. In 2011, she was Festival Director for the Writers Unlimited Tour Kuala Lumpur/Makassar and invited to be the Festival Director of the George Town Literary Festival in Penang (2011-2013), the only state-funded literary festival in Malaysia.
She is the author of five books, which include poetry and prose; going there and coming back (1997), The Book of Sins (2008), Lost in KL (2008) and the acclaimed memoir Growing Up With Ghosts (2011) which won in the Readers’ Choice Awards 2012 in the Non-Fiction Category and Onkalo (2013), her third collection of poems.
She has had writing residencies in Amsterdam with the Nederlands Letterenfonds, the International Writing Program (IWP) in Iowa City and the Sitka Island Institute in Sitka, Alaska. She has toured and performed in noted literary festivals in England (Worlds Literature Festival, Norwich), Suriname, the Dutch Antilles, South Africa, Indonesia (Ubud Writers Festival, Salihara Biennale, Makassar International Writers Festival), India (Asian Writers Festival, Guwahati), Thailand, Singapore (Singapore Writers Festival), USA (Iowa City Book Festival) and the Netherlands (Writers Unlimited).
She is an Honorary Fellow in Writing at the University of Iowa’s International Writing Program 2014 and is the Founder and Director of the KL Writers Workshop.
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