The Singapore Writers Festival 2012 was kicked off yesterday (2 November) by festival director Mr Paul Tan, festival steering committee chairman Mr Philip Jeyaretnam and Mr Lawrence Wong, Senior Minister of State, MICA, Singpaore at the festival venue at SMU.
Welcoming the authors and guests, Mr Tan said that more than 200 authors are participating in the festival in nearly 200 events spread over nine days.
The festival is one of the most prestigious literary events of Asia which has now become an annual event. Eminent authors such as Michael Cunningham, Pico Iyer, Huang Chun-Ming, Kjell Ola Dahl and Jeet Thayil are headlining the festival. Alongside these seasoned writers, new writers such as Krys Lee, Krishna Udayasankar, Zafar Anjum (editor of this website, Kitaab.org), Gwen Lee and Nirosette are also making their appearance.
As part of the opening ceremony, poet Alvin Pang read two poems (both on property, a subject of fetish in Singapore) from his new collection of poetry, When the Barbarians Arrive. It was followed by a dramatised dialect story-telling by two veteran radio deejays of the famous radio station, Rediffusion (now defunct), which is being relaunched next year. The radio play in Hokkien raised many laughs. Thereafter, there was a sombre performance by some Malay students of SMU, based on a poem by Malay literary pioneer Masuri S N.
After the performances, guests moved to the festival pavilion for a reception. At the venue, Kinokuniya had already opened the bookshop that contains books by all participating authors.