BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN — A group of Bruneian writers has published their first literary journal to improve the visibility of local stories.

Named Janji Journal, the literary publication not only aims to promote local writers but also challenge the perception that Bruneians are not known for fulfilling their janji or promises.

“The term janji Brunei is synonymous with us — how we’re always late, breaking promises — and we wanted to change that narrative for our Janji Journal,” said Bash Harry, one of the founders and editors of the journal.

The literary journal’s first volume will be launched as part of The Tiny Lit Fest at the Youth Centre in Bandar Seri Begawan on December 12.

Bash said the journal received over 60 submissions of poetry and prose in English and Malay but only 15 were selected to be published.

In the publication’s first issue, 12 writers explored the theme ‘dissection of being’, which refers to “the core, substance and deeply stowed morals, beliefs, ideas, personalities and stories that make up the human”.

The ‘Janji Journal’ will be launched on December 12 at the Youth Centre in Bandar Seri Begawan. Photo: Ailin Lai/The Scoop

The 32-page journal is published in the form of a “zine” or digitally scanned pages, which were handmade by the trio behind The Brunei Writers.

Asked why they chose this approach, Bash said, “It’s kind of like looking into a diary. We wanted to focus on the raw, intimate perceptions of being a writer, our stories, and what better way to do that than to do it like this”.

She added that the journal has already received 60 pre-orders for the journal.

“We had to close the pre-orders early because we would have none available to sell at the launch,” said Bash, who is also co-founder of The Brunei Writers.

Interested readers can choose how much they are willing to pay for the journal based on the tiered pricing of $7, $10 and $15.

“The Brunei Writers, at its core, wanted to focus on accessibility and low cost. That’s what we do with all our events here at The Brunei Writers, so it is similar with the Janji Journal,” Bash said.