Tag Archives: Singapore Writers Festival

Book Excerpt: And the Walls Come Crumbling Down by Tania De Rozario

“Pack” from And the Walls Come Crumbling Down by Tania De Rozario (Gaudy Boy, 2020)

It’s rainy season by the time I’ve booked my flight and the weather is seeping into every aspect of my life. Above and around the house, it pours. Plastic groundsheets line the floor and plastic buckets catch drips from my leaky ceiling. Nothing seems to hold water these days and I feel as though I, too, am leaking. This is the fourth house since leaving my mother’s flat. Occupied for less than a month and already it is purging me out.

We thought this had been the one. But then again, for eight hundred dollars, any house would have been the one. You and I shared two rooms—one to sleep in and one to work in. We sublet the rest of the house to other artists who used the third room and the kitchen as workspaces. It was the ideal home. A place everybody could afford, in which beautiful things were created every day. 

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All is well? Journalism in Singapore through the eyes of a Reluctant Editor

By Mitali Chakravarty



Title: Reluctant Editor

Author: PN Balji

Publisher: Marshall Cavendish, 2019


The Reluctant Editor has a forward by the prominent Singaporean lawyer and diplomat, Professor Tommy Koh, which tells us that the author, P N Balji “is one of Singapore’s veteran newspaper journalists and editors, and a very good one”. The narrative is not just an account of the Singapore media seen through the eyes of a veteran journalist as stated obviously on the book cover, but also a quick sketch of a man who is introverted and self-effacing.

We do not find the author talk much of himself or his work, but he does give an extensive report on the media history from the early 1970s to the early 2000s in Singapore, including episodes like the Toh Chin Chye case, where a false allegation was made in a newspaper report on an ex-minister of Singapore. PN Balji had been in editorial positions in The Straits Times (ST), The New Paper (TNP) and the founding Editor-in-Chief of Today.

The historic evolution of all the newspapers in Singapore and the government’s involvement in monitoring the media is clearly spelt out — even to the point of deciding what kind of newspapers were necessary for communicating with people. Described as a “brash” newspaper, The New Paper was started to bridge the gap between those who read and comprehended the one hundred and seventy-one-year-old newspaper, The Straits Times, and the people who don’t understand the ST. The New Paper was started to “speak the language of blue-collar workers”. A tabloid and later a morning daily, it needed a set of different writing skills as Professor Koh tells us in the foreword. His article in simple English had to be rewritten by the editor to make it comprehensible for the readers of TNP. Read more

How Macau plans to bridge the world with words 

This November hosts a number of literary festivals in the first week.  The Singapore Writers’ Festival, the Hong Kong International Literary festival and now Macau has announced another literary festival from November 5 th to 7 th.

The Macau festival even has an event in conjunction with Cha, An Asian Journal, the first literary English online magazine with its base in Hongkong.

The 12th annual gathering of APWT the Asia Pacific’s largest and longest-running network of writers, translators, editors and publishers will feature authors from a host of nations across the Asia Pacific will be joining us including Behrooz Boochani, Omid Tofighian, Tim Baker, Melanie Mununggurr Williams, Linh Dinh, Aaron Chapman, Alan Vaarwek, Ashwani Kumar and Elizabeth Woods, as well as Macau authors such as Jenny Lao-Phillips, and Portuguese author Valério Romão.  Read more

News: Turtle City – Cavity Monsters Book Launch at Singapore Writers Festival

By Tienny The

Kitaab Publisher Zafar Anjum Perine Seah

Zafar Anjum, Tienny The and Perine Seah

On Sunday, 4 June, 2018, I was privileged and honoured to have Kitaab Publishing arrange the book launch of Turtle City: Cavity Monsters at the Singapore Writers Festival.

I was thankful for the presence of my mother, husband, son and friends (Jessica Yeo, Kisato, He Shu Xin, Teresa, Katherine Seow, Rusyinni Rusanto, Thomas Tee, Rachel Tee, Jonathan Tee, Evangeline Neo, Winston Chan Boon Hock, and Sherrley Seah) who witnessed the publication of this book. I am also grateful to those who came for the launch to give their kind blessings and support and to Perine Seah who was my moderator as well.


The idea of this book was born in 2013 when my son was three years old. Around this time, he began to lose interest in brushing his teeth. It was a great challenge to engage his interest in doing so and many questions flashed in my mind. What if people don’t brush their teeth? What if the teeth are gone? With these, the characters of cavity monsters began to appear in my head. Visual events and story situations flooded my imagination and I shared the story with my son. The story convinced him to take action, to resume the good habit of brushing his teeth. Now he expects more such stories from me. It is a challenge to create series of bedtime stories for him and I have to come up with new ones every day.

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Kitaab launches 4 titles at the Singapore Writers Festival 2018

The Best Asian fiction

The Best Asian Short Stories 2018 was launched by series editor Zafar Anjum and moderator Dr. Pallavi Narayan together with contributors Vanessa Ng and Miggs Bravo Dutt at the Singapore Writers Festival 2018.

Singapore-based publisher Kitaab launched 4 titles at this year’s Singapore Writers Festival. They were: The Best Asian Short Stories 2018 edited by Dr. Debotri Dhar, The Best Asian Speculative Fiction edited by Rajat Chaudhuri, Turtle City: Cavity Monsters by Tienny The and Mid-Autumn Musings by Dr. Aruna Shahani.

The second volume in the series, The Best Asian Short Stories 2018 contains well-crafted stories with innovative characters, gripping plots, diverse voices from 24 writers in 13 countries, including Singapore.  These contain three stories by Singaporean writers Vanessa Ng, Greg Tan and Miggs Bravo Dutt. The book was launched by series editor Zafar Anjum and moderator Dr. Pallavi Narayan together with contributors Vanessa Ng and Miggs Bravo Dutt.

The best asian fiction

(from left) Publisher Shabana Zahoor with Dr. Pallavi Narayan together with contributors Miggs Bravo Dutt and Vanessa Ng at SWF 2018.

The Best Asian Speculative Fiction

The second anthology which was an immediate sell-out was The Best Asian Speculative Fiction 2018. It is being seen by industry pundits as the most comprehensive speculative fiction collection from the continent. The anthology contain over 40 stories from 16 countries, including Singapore. Five writers from Singapore have made it to the anthology. Five contributors to the anthology from Singapore and Thailand read from their stories and talked about their brush with speculative fiction at the book launch.

The third title, Turtle City: Cavity Monsters, was launched by the author Tienny The who talked about why she wrote this book. There has been a rising trend of tooth decay among children due to unhealthy habits and poor oral hygiene. The author hopes to address this issue and raise awareness on it through her comic book story.

Mid-Autumn Musings, Dr. Aruna Shahani’s debut collection of poetry, was launched by the poet herself together with Dr. Nilanjana Sengupta.


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

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

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

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. Read more

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