Kathirina, the story teller

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Kathirina Susanna Tati

It has been said that good writing tells a story that readers can relate to. A good story is something that is easy to read and has an impact on the readers, so much so that they will remember the story line for a long time, and the writer with it.

Kathirina Susanna Tati, a well known local writer is one such person that can conjure up interesting stories from her surroundings and situations. Some of the stories that she tells are derived from experiences, either hers or others through narration.  Where tales of love, life and living are concerned she is quite good at it.
Three of her stories have been translated to English. One of them is entitled ‘The Onset of Love’. This story is about a clash of culture and tradition between a couple in love. They had to contend with their parents disapproval, and they had to work really hard to ensure that both sides accepted their love and decisions.
She had cleverly weaved in cultural and traditional norms in the story, ensuring that readers have a basic understanding about the lifestyle the indigenous people of Sabah and people from the Peninsula Malaysia.
Her second book translated into English is  “Tales from our Ancestors.” This book is basically a collection of well known folktales from the indigenous community of Sabah. These well-told, well-loved tales are told in various ways among the people, so hers could be an interesting read.
Her third book translated into English is called  ‘Dawn before the end of dusk’. This is a story about a cancer survivor who had to fight through her depression and fear, with help from her family.
Kathirina, who is known as Kate among her friends has published nine books thus far. They are written in Bahasa Malaysia.  Two of them are a compilation of short stories entitled ‘Sogit’ and ‘Tangis Buliga’. Her three novels are ‘Pagi dihujung senja’ which has been translated to ‘Dawn before the end of dusk’ ‘Vusak Putih’ and ‘Mendung Berarak.’ She also published a book of poem entitled ‘Mahligai Pasir’ and three children’s books.
Kate who is of Kadazan descent started to write when she was still in school but went actively into writing in 1994. She won the Sastera Sabah award for her short story ‘Menanti Mau mengamit pulang’ for 1996/1997 and then again for 2016/1017 for her short story ‘Ayah.’ She was also accorded consolation prize in a short story competition organised by SEDCO in 2009 and again in 2010.
In fact many of her poems and short stories have been published by the three main newspapers in Sabah.
She says that writing is so much a part of her that she cannot give it up even though she is busy with her work, as a hotelier.
“I will continue to write for as long as I can. Sometimes, I am inspired by events surrounding me and at times, understandably, I get writer’s block and may not be able to write for a while,” she shares. When she is not writing, she usually assist her fellow writers to collect their work for publication. She is currently coordinating and compiling  short stories and poetry anthologies for publication. She is also actively involved in traditional songs performances.
Her love for writing has of course brought her far and she has contributed to Anthologies of short stories within Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, India and Taiwan.  She has recited in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and India. She also features in YouTube in one of her performances.
On her future plans, she says she will keep on writing and compiling stories and poetry. She wants to leave something of her thoughts and creativity behind, she shares. An admirable wish by a passionate writer.
She is a member of local writers group Momogunsia, Bahasa and Pena. Her full range of books are available in the market. Information on where to purchase them can be acquired from 0109834383.-ce/BNN