Monday, May 28, 2007

Press Release -- Text-Only Version

(Thanks to everyone who pointed out that the jpegs are unclickable.)


Sharanya Manivannan


“Ochre As The Earth”

a spoken word performance

Sunday June 3rd 2007


No Black Tie, 17 Jalan Mesui, Kuala Lumpur

Entry fee: RM15

Ochre As The Earth

Ochre As The Earth is a 90-minute long spoken word performance of original writing by Sharanya Manivannan, a Chennai-born writer, painter, dancer, actress, photographer and

Ochre As The Earth will be the first full-length feature performance in Kuala Lumpur by a poet residing in Malaysia. No Black Tie is one of KL’s most vibrant and eclectic venues, and has hosted some of the city’s most exciting performances in recent years. Featuring a gifted young woman in the first local event of its kind, Ochre As The Earth promises to be a breathtaking performance unlike any so far in Kuala Lumpur’s independent literary scene.

About Sharanya Manivannan

Sharanya Manivannan was born in India in 1985 and grew up in Sri Lanka and Malaysia. Since 2001, Sharanya has been a rising figure in the local literary scene, having performed at dozens of readings, at venues including No Black Tie, La Bodega KL, MPH Bookstore, Silverfish Books, 67 Lorong Tempinis Satu, Darling Muse Gallery, Indie Scene Café, Liquid, Food Foundry, Galeri Seni Lukis Negara, Tamarind Springs, 1901, The Substation and Singapore Arts Museum. She has shared the stage and the forum with international writers including Francesca Beard, Roger Robinson, Malika Booker, Jacob Sam-La Rose and Yang-May Ooi, and was invited to be a panel speaker at the 2007 Kriti Literary Festival in Chicago. In late 2006, she self-published a handmade, limited edition chapbook of poems and images, Iyari.

At only 21, Sharanya has established herself as an artist of great promise. Her writing is intense, sensual, earthy yet ethereal, negotiating all her dualities: her mother tongue and her language of expression, her sense of wretched exile and her gypsy soul, her melancholy and passion for life.

Her writing has appeared both in print and online, and has been published or is forthcoming in Softblow, Quarterly Literary Review of Singapore, Poetika, Project For A New Mythology, The 2nd Rule, Poetry Chain India and the anthologies Yellow As Turmeric, Fragrant As Cloves, Off The Web and Collateral Damage. She keeps a blog at, which was nominated for a Koufax Award and was given a Thinking Blogger Award. In 2001, she was a guest editor for Poetika's all-female issue.

Sharanya is editing an anthology of writing and artwork on the female body, featuring the talents of South Asian women contributors between 18 and 24 years old, for Women Unlimited, under their “Maiden Voices” series. Women Unlimited is an imprint of Kali For Women, India's first feminist publisher. Other future writing-related projects include a musical/spoken word collaboration with US-Pakistani band The Kominas, editing another anthology of international poetry, and inclusion in a multimedia project featuring recordings of women poets reading their work.

She is the founder and executive producer of the CRESCENDO: Raise Your Voice series, which uses performance to raise funds for organisations supporting women in crisis. The first instalment of the series, in 2003, raised funds for All-Women’s Action Society Malaysia (AWAM) and featured performers including Pete Teo, Saidah Rastam and Joanna Bessey. She has previously been involved with various NGOs in both staff and volunteer positions. She has been a journalist since the age of 16, and has had her nonfiction appear in over a dozen newspapers and magazines. She was recently invited to be a columnist for United Press International, the global press agency. Additionally, she also teaches creative writing and storytelling, particularly for children.

She is presently working on a novel, Constellation of Scars, and a collection of poems,

Acclaim for Sharanya Manivannan’s writing:

“Sharanya Manivannan is the Sri Lankan womanist poet I've been waiting for—a writer with guts and passion and precision, brave enough to tell all the Sri Lankan women's stories that have been needing to be told for too long. Incredibly fierce!”
—Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha (Consensual Genocide)

“I am moved by Sharanya's poems, excited by the worlds she describes— modernity flowering in tradition's gardens, the yoking of different and sometimes irreconcilable experiences. Her poetry springs from loss, separation, sometimes union. I like the catholicity of her tastes, her broad embrace of literature and experience from cultures far from each other on the planet, yet side by side in her poems.”
—Indran Amirthanayagam (The Elephants of Reckoning, winner of the 1994 Paterson Poetry Prize)

“I love Sharanya's poems: they are breathtakingly beautiful. They're very musical and her imagery is not just rich but has the sort of precise tactility that's hard to come by, not at all sentimental.”
—Laksmi Pamuntjak (Ellipsis, a The Herald [UK] Book of the Year 2005)

“Sharanya Manivannan can make you weep. She moves in mysterious ways. She fills in the blanks.”
—Francesca Beard (Chinese Whispers tour)

“Sharanya is one of those writers who reaffirm your belief in the creative future of poetry. Her poems excite at the same time with the burst of youth and the slow seep of old wisdom. Her images are physical and thought-provoking. They often startle with their unexpected aptness. They are erotic, sad, disturbing. She is equally at home with poetry and prose. I think Sharanya, given the space to grow, will zoom.”
—Shreekumar Varma (The Lament of Mohini)

We would be grateful for any promotional assistance, including interviews with the poet, that your publication, programme or website may be interested in.
For more information, please contact:

Sharanya Manivannan

Evelyn Hii (No Black Tie) //

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