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19th Singapore Writers Festival opens in the midst of thriving literary scene

The literary scene is seeing more buzz these days, and the Government has been “very encouraged by a positive trend of attendance at literary events”, said Senior Minister of State for Culture, Community and Youth, Sim Ann. This is especially so with the entrance of new players such as Sing Lit Station and the National Poetry Festival, which are contributing to a thriving scene, she added.

Sim was speaking at the opening ceremony of the annual Singapore Writers Festival on Friday evening (Nov 4). This year’s festival, which is now into its 19th edition, has the theme ‘Sayang’.

“Literature in its various forms and genres contribute to the stories of nations,” she pointed out, adding that the Singapore Writers Festival has made available plenty of opportunities to fans of the written word to meet the creative geniuses behind their favourite books. It has helped “to place Singapore on the literary world map”, she said. Read more
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Singapore Writers Festival opens this weekend

In its 19th edition, running from November 4 to 13, the Singapore Writers Festival, a multilingual and international gathering of writers, poets, artists and musicians, brings this notion of sayang to the literary forefront, begging readers and writers alike to ponder this fleeting tenderness together.

Originally founded as a biennial festival in 1986, the Singapore Writers Festival became an annual festival in 2011 showcasing the best Southeast Asian literary talents. With each passing year, the festival organisers strive to include a greater diversity of both Singaporean and Southeast Asian writers in addition to highlighting the literary achievements of artists around the globe.

“The Singapore Writers Festival has become known for its eclectic and inclusive programming and being a place for an exchange of ideas,” said Singaporean poet and Singapore Writers Festival director Yeow Kai Chai. “We continuously make a concerted effort to invite writers from different cultural and linguistic backgrounds, and who have differing points of view on various topics.” Read more


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New Release: Dream Storeys by Clara Chow

Singapore journalist Clara Chow will launch a collection of short stories put togther in a book titled Dream Storeys on November 6, during the Singapore Writers Festival 2016.

The book is a result of interviews and interactions with 12 prominent and emerging local architects – such as President’s Design Award winner Tan Kok Hiang, National University of Singapore School of Design and Environment senior lecturer Nirmal Kishnani, and Genome Architects principal Yen Yen Wu – that gave Clara an insight in to what were the imaginary structures they longed to construct. The author, then wrote short stories set in these dream buildings.

 

Dream Storey’s nine genre-bending stories include a touching tale in a prelapsarian tree house that is both old folks’ home and orphanage, an almost-love story set in an underground city, and a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure-style fable revolving around a serum that changes human behaviour. An action-packed epilogue reimagines the Singapore Flyer as a political prison.

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Indian Author Dedicates Book to Intelligentsia Protesting Against Intolerance

KafkaFCA Singapore-based Indian author has launched a short-story book, Kafka in Ayodhya, dedicating it to the writers, filmmakers and intellectuals who are protesting against growing intolerance in India.

“My dedication is in solidarity with the writers, filmmakers and intellectuals who are protesting against the rising tide of intolerance in India,” said Zafar Anjum, who last week launched ‘Kafka in Ayodhya and Other Short Stories’ at the Singapore Writers Festival.

“It is dedicated to the wounded ‘Idea of India’,” said Mr Anjum.

He said that during his recent travel across India, he found “people disturbed over elements that threatened the harmony of the country”.

“But the good news is that people of India are fighting back such elements and they will not allow the secular character of the country to be changed,” said Mr Anjum.

The book, launched by Mr Anjum’s publishing company Kitaab on November 7, has a collection of eight stories, some real and some surreal, set in either India or Singapore.

“It is a surreal story with a comic touch but it has a serious message of peace in it,” added the 41-year-old author.

In the title story, Mr Anjum has an imaginary Prague-born writer, Kafka, who travels to Ayodhya at a time when the country was tense and waited for the Supreme Court judgement on the Babri Masjid-Ramjanambhoomi dispute with bated breath.

Mr Anjum’s other books include ‘The Resurgence of Satyam’, ‘Iqbal: The Life of a Poet, Philosopher and Politician’, and more recently, ‘Startup Capitals: Discovering the Global Hotspots of Innovation’.

LossandLawsAlso launched during the festival was the ‘Loss and Laws and Other Tamil Short Stories’ by Tamil journalist Jayanthi Sankar and translated into English by Usha Nagasamy, a Further Education college lecturer who is a non-Indian resident from London.

Ms Sankar, who is a Singapore citizen and works with the Tamil Murasu newspaper here, said her book is based on the observations and experiences of the author’s 26 years of life spent in fast-changing Singapore.

There are 17 short stories in this collection – all chosen from the 99 short stories written by the author over a period of 17 years.

The title story, Loss and Laws, is based on the experience of a domestic worker from India who unknowingly becomes the victim of the strict laws of Singapore, she said.

Source: PTI


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Singapore’s Desmond Kon Clinches Silver at 2015 Independent Publisher Book Awards

Desmond Kon

Desmond Kon

Fresh from his double win at this year’s Beverly Hills International Book Awards, Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé has been named a silver medalist at The 2015 Independent Publisher Book Awards (IPPY). This win, in the Multicultural Fiction category, is for his novel, Singular Acts of Endearment (Squircle Line Press & Grey Sparrow Press), which was launched at last year’s Singapore Writers Festival. Monona Wali’s My Blue Skin Lover (Blue Jay Ink) takes the gold, while Chantel Acevedo’s A Falling Star (Carolina Wren Press) walks away with the bronze. Continue reading


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Singapore Writers Festival 2014 Celebrates ‘The Prospect of Beauty’

Singapore Writers Festival (SWF), Singapore’s most anticipated literary event, is back this year with an exciting line-up of authors and programmes centred around the theme ‘The Prospect of Beauty’, which promises to celebrate beauty in writing, literature and the world around us.

SWF

 

From left to right: Festival Director, Paul Tan; Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for Communications and Information; Philip Jeyaretnam, Chairman, SWF Steering Committee

Held from 31 October to 9 November, the Festival features a riveting line-up of over 200 Singapore and international writers participating in more than 280 events that comprise panel discussions, lectures, poetry readings, literary meals, film screenings and more.

In its 17th edition, this year’s Festival boasts some of the world’s literary greats such as Paul Theroux, American travel writer and novelist; leading figure in the feminist movement, social critic and political activist Naomi Wolf; Raymond E. Feist, science fiction and fantasy author; Karen Joy Fowler, best-selling writer and most recently long-listed for the Man Booker Prize; Irish poet Paul Muldoon, winner of the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry; three-time US Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky; Jonathan Lethem, best known for his genre- bending fiction; Barry Lopez, often regarded as the most important living writer on nature and human culture; William T. Vollmann, American journalist, novelist and war correspondent; and prolific women’s fiction author Adele Parks.

Commenting on this year’s line-up and programming, Festival Director Paul Tan shares, “The Festival stays true to its mission to inspire, excite and engage fans of the literary arts through thought-provoking topics and diverse programming. We hope this year’s offerings will bring readers back to basics – by reminding them to take pleasure in the lyrical beauty of words, a well-formed poem, or an immersive novel.”

He adds, “In recent years, the Festival has also evolved into a platform for the lively exchange of ideas and opinions. This year, we want our audiences to think about timely and hard-hitting topics, such as morality in literature, the trade-offs between the environment and economic development, and society’s unrealistic ideals of female beauty. We have also introduced more experiential programmes inspired by the written word and beyond – from interactive theatre to spoken word, poetry and jazz – that promise unique and stimulating experiences for our festival-goers.”

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V S Naipaul dropped from Ubud Writers Festival for demanding $20,000 as appearance fee

Both V S Naipaul and Paul Theroux, who are not appearing in this year’s Ubud Festival in Bali, will appear in Jaipur Lit Fest in India and Singapore Writers Festival respectively

NaipaulFor this year’s festival from October 1-5, festival director Janet DeNeefe invited the American writer Paul Theroux, who had expressed interest after eating at her Ubud restaurant Indus. When she rejected his request for a fee for which, she says, “I could have got David Attenborough”, Theroux agreed instead to appear at the Singapore Writers Festival in November.
DeNeefe then invited V.S. Naipaul, the distinguished but difficult 82-year-old Trinidad-born British writer, who recently ended a long feud with Theroux. To her amazement the Wylie Agency accepted, with the promise of first- and business-class travel and a luxurious villa.

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Paul Theroux, Naomi Wolf, William T. Vollmann, Mai Jia to celebrate beauty in Singapore Writers Festival 2014

This year’s Singapore Writers Festival (SWF), Singapore’s most anticipated literary event, is back with an exciting line-up of authors and programmes centred around the theme ‘The Prospect of Beauty’. The theme signifies the festival’s focus to celebrate beauty in writing, literature and the world around us.

Singapore Writers Festival Director, Paul Tan

Singapore Writers Festival Director, Paul Tan

In its 17th edition, this year’s Festival boasts some of the world’s literary greats such as Paul Theroux, American travel writer and novelist; leading figure in the feminist movement, social critic and political activist Naomi Wolf; Raymond E. Feist, science fiction and fantasy author; Karen Joy Fowler, best-selling writer and most recently long-listed for the Man Booker Prize; Irish poet Paul Muldoon, winner of the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry; three-time US Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky; Jonathan Lethem, best known for his genre-bending fiction; Barry Lopez, often regarded as the most important living writer on nature and human culture; William T. Vollmann, American journalist, novelist and war correspondent; and prolific women’s fiction author Adele Parks.

Held from 31 October to 9 November, the Festival features a riveting line-up of nearly 200 Singapore and international writers participating in over 250 events that comprise panel discussions, lectures, poetry readings, literary meals and more. Continue reading


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S’pore poet Yeow Kai Chai to head Singapore Writers Fest next year

yeow_kai_chaiThe Singapore Writers Festival will have a new director next year:  Yeow Kai Chai, a well-known poet and journalist.

The festival’s current director, Paul Tan, also a poet, will be stepping down after this year’s edition. Tan is also deputy chief executive officer of the National Arts Council.

“We look forward to Kai Chai joining the SWF team in December,” Tan said in a media statement. “He is away in Iowa now at a writing residency programme as he is a poet in his own right. We’ll be sharing more details when he comes on board.”

The Singapore Writers Festival will also return to its original venue The Arts House where its events will take place (in the Empress Place Civic District).

The festival has been held on the lawns of the Singapore Management University campus green since 2011.