SHORT STORY WRITING IN BRUNEI DARUSSALAM
Brunei short story writers basically can be divided into three categories:

a. Established writers;

b. Young writers;and

c. Aspiring youth writers.

  • The established writers are those early proponents of Brunei modern literature before 1984:
    • These are mostly veteran writers who write in the style of both realism and romanticsm since the 1950s.
    • Most prominent writers of these generations are Muslim Burmat, Salleh Abdul latif, Haji Shawal Rajab, A. Leman Ahmad, A. Mahad and many others.
  • The young writers are those writers who chart a new beginning in Brunei literary development after 1984:
    • The young writers can be further sub-divided into:
      • Writers of "experimental" fictions.
      • Women writers.
    • Writers of "experimental" fictions are represented by Haji Morshidi bin Haji Marsal (Mussidi), Ampuan Haji Brahim bin Ampuan Haji Tengah (Rahimi A. B., Brahim A. H. T.), Haji Bujang Matnor, Mohd. Zefri Arif bin Modh. Zain Arif (Zefri Arif Brunei), Mohd. Shahri bin Hussin (Norsiah M. S.), Pudarno Binchin (P. Binchin), Mohd. Ali bin Radin (H. Mar), Haji Saidi bin Haji Ahmad (Disa), Haji Osman Haji Tamin (Mas Afna) and Mohd. Adi Zaky.
    • Their writings are largely claimed by leterary critics in Brunei as difficult to understand. They try to break away from the conventional writing style of the earlier established writers by introducing other writing style such as magic realism, new journalism, meta-fiction and so on.
    • Women writers of short stories are very few and they are given special consideration by the Language and Literature Bureau by trying to bring them into the mainstream Brunei literary development which is mainly dominated by male writers.
    • Important literary figures in this category are Norsiah Gafar, Dayang Aminah binti haji Momin, Shaharah binti Dato Paduka Haji Abd. Wahab (Mutiah), Fatimah Asgar, Hajah Sariani binti Haji Ishak, Hajah Rosni binti Haji Omar, Faridah Abdul Hamid, Sosonjan A. Khan, Hajah Tuming, Siti Hawa bint Haji Kamis (Amira), Latifah binti Haji Abd. Latif dan Hajah Masti binti Haji Ahmad.

The Aspiring youth writers are the selected few school students who are mostly doing literary study in the secondary level with promising literary talents.
    • They are Tuti Irawati binti Haji Bujang, Hanim Irdawati binti Haji Bujang, Azoana binti Haji Awang, Azura bint Haji Ismail, Nurul Hikam bin Haji Md. Din, Fauziah binti Haji Burut, Norhayati binti Haji Mohiddin and Dayangku Norazimah binti Pengiran Haji Aji (Nurul Faizmah).
    • They are groomed and sponsored by the Language and Literature Bureau to become future Brunei literary successors.
    • They are known locally as "novice" writers (Penulis Tunas).
    • The Language and Literature Bureau gives them special priority by publishing their writings in the bureau's periodical publications namely, Bahana, Juara and Mekar.

The Language and Literature Bureau is the central force that drives Brunei writers to navigate modern literary development in the country.

The Bureau provides support for Brunei writers in several ways:

  • Provide publishing spaces in its literary magazines.
  • Provide finance to publish anthology of short stories.
  • Provide financial incentives in the form of royalties.
  • Seeking financial sponsorship from private agencies, e.g. private banks and associations for writers' literary activities and awards.
  • Provide training through organizing creative writing workshops, as well as organizing local, regional and international literary colloquiums.
  • Organize short writing competitions to commemorate important national events.
  • Provide institutional linkages for writers with other related institutions, locally and regionally, such as University of Brunei Darussalam, Balai Pustaka of Jakarta, ASEAN Committee on Culture and Information, Committee on S. E. A. Writers' Award, etc.
  • One of the most inmportant periodical publications run by the Language and Literature Bureau for literary writing is Bahana. It is published in the Malay language.
  • The Language and Literature Bureau also annually honour outstanding short stories that are published in Bahana magazine by presenting the writers the Bahana Creative Writing Award. Every year five short story writers are selected to receive this award.
Besides the Language and Literature Bureau, other agencies that provide support for Burnei short story writers are:
  • Brunei Radio and Television Department.
    • This department provides short story reading on the radio. This programme is usually aired in the evening every Tuesday.
  • Information Department
    • This department also publishes short story writings in the official Brunei Government's newsletter called Pelita Brunei.
  • The Brunei Press Pte. Ltd. also provides spaces for Brunei writers to publish their short stories in its daily newpaper called Media Permata.
    • Media Permata and Pelita Brunei are the mostly widely read newspaper in Brunei Darussalam.
  • University of Brunei Darussalam
    • The University provides technical and academic supports for Brunei writers through its link with the Language and Literature Bureau.
    • The University also provides venues for literary discussions in its campuses which are organized on weekly basis.
Short story writing competitions are mostly opened for participation based on two categories:
  • Adults.
  • Students.
These short story writing competitions have been organized by both government and private agencies, namely:
  • The Dakwah Islamiah Centre.
  • The Brunei Press Pte. Ltd. and QAF Holding Pte. Ltd.
  • Standard and Chartered Bank Pte. Ltd.
  • The Association of Brunei Writers, ASTERAWANI.

At the regional level, Brunei writers are involved in conferences, seminars, workshops, forum and dialogs organized through regional institutions in which the Brunei Government, represented by the Language and Literature Bureau, is fully committed:
  • MASTERA.
  • ASEAN COCI.
  • NUSANTARA Writers' Council.
  • BORNEIO-KALIMANTAN DIALOG Committee.

Part 1


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