On meeting Yann Martel

by Suzan Abrams

Just read that Canadian-novelist, Yann Martel, previously a Man Booker Prize winner for Life of Pi, is rumoured to have signed on a multi-million dollar book deal for an upcoming title.

Met Yann Martel once at the Mandarin Hotel during Hong Kong’s Festival of Literature in March 2003. I was introduced to the award-winning novelist by Malaysia’s Rani Manicka who wrote and published the highly popular The Rice Mother, a pioneer work of Malaysian literature and who put my country on the world map of popular multicultural fiction like never before.

Manicka and Martel who are friends, had read earlier together, to audiences, from excerpts of their books. In that short time, I remember Martel looking every inch the geek from high school. A lanky chap, he smiled a lot and was immediately pleasant.  Martel also showed up a comic humour although he could have been described as bashful.