n 2001, the prolific Singapore author Isa Kamari undertook the pilgrimage to Mecca. Two years later, he wrote a series of 100 poems based on this experience which was published in Malay as Munajat Sukma. The collection was subsequently republished as a triptych of chapbooks in 2006. Pilgrimage is a translation of a selection of these poems.
Arranged by Isa to form a sequential narrative of his journey, Harry Aveling’s English translations are a conduit for new readers into the deep recesses of the pilgrim’s mind and soul as they complete the Hajj. Through the poet’s inner responses to his faith, this collection opens up for English readers an awareness and understanding of a practising faith of a people from a different language.
About the Author
Isa Kamari is a prominent figure in Singapore’s Malay literary scene. He has gained critical acclaim for many of his works, which range from novels and short stories to poetry and essays. He is also a musician and has crafted scripts for television and theatre. In 2007, his contributions to the nation were officially recognised when he was conferred the most prestigious arts award in Singapore, the Cultural Medallion; he is the first non-full-time artist to receive the award.
In 1997, his short story “Pertemuan” won the Hadiah Sastera, Anugerah Persuratan, a Malay literature award given by the Malay Language Council of Singapore. He received the award for the second time in 2001 for his essay Milik Siapa Bumi Yang Satu Ini. He has received numerous awards for his other works, including his first novel Satu Bumi. Released in 1998, Satu Bumi was translated and published in Mandarin and English in 1999 and 2007, respectively. It was also selected for the launch of the National Library Board‘s nationwide reading initiative READ! Singapore in 2005. Another of his novels, Kiswah, was shortlisted for the Singapore Literature Prize in 2004.
Isa was presented with the distinguished Southeast Asian Writers Award (also known as the S.E.A. Write Award) in 2006. He has also received two of the most prestigious cultural awards in Singapore, the Cultural Medallion in 2007 and the Anugerah Tun Seri Lanang in 2009.
About the Translator
Harry Aveling holds an adjunct appointment as a Professor in the School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics. He specialises in Indonesian and Malay Literature, and Translation Studies. Prof. Aveling has published widely in translation theory and is the author, with Teri Yamada, of the new entry on Southeast Asian Translation Traditions in the Routledge Encyclopedia of Translation Studies, 2009.
He has translated extensively from Indonesian and Malay, from Vietnamese Francophone writing, and co-translated from Hindi. In 1991, he was awarded the Anugerah Pengembangan Sastera by the Federation of Malay Writing Societies (GAPENA) for his contributions to the international recognition of Malay Literature. Among his major translations are Secrets Need Words: Indonesian Poetry 1966-1998 (Ohio University Press 2001), short listed for the NSW Premier’s Translation Award 2003, and Saint Rosa: Selected Verse of Dorothea Rosa Herliany (IndonesiaTera 2005), winner of the Khatulistiwa Prize for Poetry, Jakarta 2006.
His current research relates to the work of the Singapore author Isa Kamari.
Besides his supervisory work at Monash University, he has taught courses in Translation Studies at the University of Indonesia, Jakarta; Gadjah Mada University, Yogyakarta; University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Ho Chi Minh City; and the Vietnam National University, Hanoi. He was a Distinguished Visiting Professor in the Center for International Studies, Ohio University, for Spring Quarter 2011.
Prof. Aveling is a Fellow of the Stockholm Collegium of World Literary History, Stockholm University, representing island Southeast Asia. He was President of AALITRA, the Australian Association for Literary Translation, from 2005 to 2008, and is currently Immediate Past President of the Malaysia and Singapore Society, a regional subgroup of the Asian Studies Association of Australia.