Singapore Writers to Launch Books at Melbourne Writers Festival 2008


Writers to Launch Books


at Melbourne Writers Festival 2008


Singapore literature will come under the spotlight when three books, published by Ethos Books under National Arts Council (NAC)’s 50fifty Co-publishing Initiative, are launched at the upcoming Melbourne Writers Festival (22 to 31 August 2008).  The books are Still Travelling, the latest collection of poems by Emeritus Professor Edwin Thumboo, One Earth by Isa Kamari and Over There: Poems from Singapore and Australia, an anthology of poems edited by Alvin Pang and John Kinsella.  The book launch will be held on 23 August 2008.


Over There has enjoyed high-profile launches at the Adelaide Writers’ Week earlier in March 2008 and at the South Perth Poetry Park in May 2008. Still Travelling was launched in Singapore on 15 August 2008 and will also be promoted at the Frankfurt Book Fair in October 2008.


To ride on this momentum and expose Singapore writers to the Melbourne Writers Festival’s international literary community of about 40,000, a Singapore delegation led by Khor Kok Wah, NAC Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Director for Literary Arts will attend the Festival. The delegates include writers Professor Thumboo, Angeline Yap, Alvin Pang, Isa Kamari, Madeleine Lee and Aaron Lee, and Ethos Books publisher Fong Hoe Fang.


Says Khor, “We realise that promoting good writing goes hand in hand with effective publishing and marketing.  We need to do this nationally and internationally. Good books will attract new markets, and vice versa. We are pleased that the 50fifty Co-publishing Scheme is helping a publisher like Ethos to go out and market our writers, and this in turn encourages our writers to keep writing more and better works. 


With our participation in the Adelaide Writers’ Week, South Perth Poetry Park launch and now the Melbourne Writers Festival, we hope to make significant inroads into the Australian market for literature in English. Many Australian readers are interested in Asian writing because of geography, culture and immigrant population. 


NAC wants to develop the literary arts and its industry players at all levels from the keen reader, budding author, emerging publisher, to the sophisticated reader, established writer, publishing company or literary agent.”


“The Melbourne Writers Festival is one of the world’s best-known literary festivals. By co-launching three Ethos titles at this event, our writers get to engage face-to-face with literary talent and book lovers from all over,” says Fong.


In addition to the launch event at the Festival, the writers and poets will be conducting readings and seminars from 24 to 25 August with the Australian Poetry Centre and Hunter Writers Centre, University of Newcastle.


About 50fifty Co-publishing Initiative

The 50fifty Co-publishing Initiative was launched by NAC last year as a step towards developing a greater pool of Singapore literature and an investment in the development ofSingapore's literary publishing industry. Works that are well-written, distinctive and with a potential to generate domestic and international interest are published in partnership with independent industry players.


There are about 6 publishers who have expressed interest so far and NAC aims to collaborate on about 5 titles each year.


To date, books published under the initiative include The Lies That Build a Marriage by Suchen Christine Lim (Monsoon Books), Identity (Ethos Books) by David Leo, The Coffin that Wouldn't Bury and Other Stories (Ethos Books) by Jeffrey Lim, One Earth (Ethos Books), Over There: Poems from Singapore and Australia (Ethos Books) and Still Travelling (Ethos Books).