Tag Archives: Singapore literature

Of stories and libraries in Covid 19

Photo by ArtHouse Studio on Pexels.com

As a book-lover, if there is one thing that we might have missed in this lockdown the most, then it would be bookshops and libraries. So here’s a bit of happy news for all the book lovers in Singapore.

The National Library Board has announced that, “The National Library Building, the National Archives of Singapore building, our 25 public libraries and the Former Ford Factory will reopen to the public on 1 July 2020 with shorter opening hours and capacity controls in place. This is in line with the safe reopening measures under Phase 2 and to safeguard the health and safety of our patrons and staff.”

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Taking stock of a half-century of service: Singapore Book Council’s William Phuan

(From Publishing Perspectives. Link to the complete article given below)

As the organization’s mission statement reads, the charity was founded in 1968 to address literacy issues in the island nation.

“That mission has since evolved,” according to the company’s media messaging, “into encouraging and supporting local content creation through writing, reading, illustrating and storytelling. The book council’s vision is focused on ‘Building Our Imagine-nation’ by developing creativity, imagination and original thought.

“The book council supports the community at all levels, from language programs for children, to aspiring individuals and professionals like writers, illustrators, storytellers, and relevant industry partners by providing a platform to learn, network, and collaborate. It also organizes events to foster professional and community engagement like the annual Asian Festival of Children’s Content and All In! Young Writers Festival. And it grants prestigious awards, like the Singapore Literature Prize, to recognize and encourage excellence.”

We start by asking Phuan where the organization now finds itself at 50.

Publishing Perspectives: How central to Singapore’s literary life has the Singapore Book Council become in its 50 years of serving the nation?

William Phuan: Singapore Book Council is the longest-running independent nonprofit dedicated to promoting Singapore literature in the four official languages—Chinese, English, Malay and Tamil.

Through its 50 years, the council has constantly and steadfastly played an integral role in literary life here, from the first book fair in 1969—the Festival of Books and Book Fair—to the various awards given out since 1976 to recognize writers and their works, including the country’s national literary award, the Singapore Literature Prize.

We also have provided training over the decades to boost the literary arts sector. And our current #BuySingLit movement [which promotes Singapore’s own authors and publishers] is another way the council has made significant and important contributions to Singapore’s literary life.

While there are many organizations that promote literary art in Singapore, the book council is the only one that has such a long history with good, longstanding relationships with key organizations like the National Arts Council, the National Library Board, the Lee Kuan Yew Fund for Bilingualism, the various book retailers and distributors, and quality local and international trainers.

Read more at the Publishing Perspectives link here

Buy local campaign aims to boost S’pore literary scene

By Reena Devi Shanmuga Retnam

Singapore writers have been clinching book deals and winning awards overseas. But on our own shores, publishers and bookstore owners say that more needs be done so that the works of writers here are more visible, and thus better appreciated.

To that end, more than 30 publishers, booksellers, distributors and non-profit entities here have come together to organise the inaugural #BuySingLit campaign with the aim of promoting local literature. The campaign — with the catchphrase “Buy Local, Read Our World” — is on from Feb 24 to 26, and hopes to encourage more Singapore residents to pick up and buy books by local writers. Read more

Source: Today Online

Hungry for Singapore literature? Press B4

bookvendingmachineWriters hate being boxed in. But some Singaporean authors have found their works kept in a box and sold in an innovative yet familiar way – through vending machines. A truly novel way to sell a novel.

Two vending machines stocked with Singaporean literature were set up separately in the National Museum of Singapore and the Singapore Visitor Centre in Orchard last Friday (June 3). These machines were set up in the hopes of getting Singaporeans more interested in their local literature. Each machine stocks about 20 titles ranging from poetry to short stories and sketches, and can fit some 150 books. Read more

A Singapore literature festival in New York

Sixteen local and US-based writers pitch in to start three-day event in October: ST

Cheryl TanThis October, 16 Singaporean writers will share their works with an American audience at the inaugural Singapore Literature Festival in New York.

The three-day event from Oct 10 to 12 will involve readings and discussions at independent bookstores as well as the 92nd Street Y, a premier literary destination and cultural centre in the city.

The festival is an independent effort organised by New York-based Singaporeans, who are raising funds through corporate donations and a Kickstarter campaign.

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Balli Kaur Jaswal: It never hurts to think about who your audience will be

balli kaur jaswal

Balli Kaur Jaswal grew up in Singapore, Japan, Russia and the Philippines. She attended the creative writing programs in Hollins University and George Mason University in the US. In 2007, she won the David TK Wong Fellowship at the University of East Anglia, where she wrote Inheritance, her first novel, published by Sleepers Publishing in February 2013.

Currently, Jaswal teaches VCE English in a secondary school in Melbourne.

Inheritance is a story about a traditional family grappling with their rapidly modernising surroundings.  It is a nation’s coming-of-age story, seen through the sharp lens of a traditional Punjabi family as it gradually unravels.  Set in Singapore between the 1970’s and 1990’s, Inheritance follows the familial fissures that develop after teenaged Amrit disappears in the middle of the night. Although her absence is brief, she returns as a different person.

In this interview with Kitaab’s editor Zafar Anjum, Jaswal discusses the journey of her first novel from its genesis to its publication.

Inheritance is your debut novel. How did the idea of this multi-generational saga come to you?

The characters came to me before the story did. When they started interacting with each other and conflicts began to arise, the story was born. In rising Asia, there is a palpable tension between tradition and modernity. The characters from different generations play out these tensions – they’re living proof of one country’s uneasy balancing act of past and present. As the landscape of Singapore changes, the characters have to decide between adjusting to them or completely retreating.

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