Melizarani T.Selva

Spoken Word Poet / Journalist


MELIZARANI T.SELVA is a Malaysian spoken word poet, journalist and poetry educator. Her first book titled Taboo (2015) made Top 10 Best-Seller List on Malaysia’s No.1 Online Bookstore (MPH). To date, her poems have been translated in French by Éditions Jentayu and in Bahasa Malaysia by Malaysia’s National Institute of Language and Literature. She has also performed in six countries with notable performances at TEDxGateway in Mumbai and Ubud Writers and Readers Festival. Presently, she runs Kuala Lumpur's leading monthly poetry event, If Walls Could Talk, a bilingual poetry slam, Slamokrasi, and teaches performance poetry at international and national schools.

Summary of work

To date, I have performed and published poetry on the subject of taboos, Indian diaspora identity and women empowerment. These poems are published in my personal collection, Taboo (2015) and several anthologies namely Éditions Jentayu (in French), ASEAN Poetry Anthology (in Bahasa Malaysia) and The Asian Centre Anthology of Malaysian Poetry in English. I have also published an academic essay on the Malaysian Indian identity crises. As a journalist with The Star Media Group, I continue to write national and community news with notable articles on youth suicides and sustainable design for cities. As a poetry educator, I teach performance poetry to students aged 9 to 18 at national and international schools. I also organise and curate poetry events in Kuala Lumpur. 

Summary of work to develop

I am currently working on my second book of poetry and stage performance that covers the identity dilemmas faced by Malaysian Indian women; as misunderstood daughters, undecided mothers and an independent woman with choices. As a poetry events organiser, I am focused on building relationships with poets and writers in various countries to create an exchange of talent and knowledge, between Malaysia and UK as well as other countries beyond Asia. During my time at ILS, I hope to connect with more writers, far from my usual reach and work on enabling them to collaborate with the Malaysian literary arts scene.