NAC Appoints Director for Singapore Writers Festival


The biennial Singapore Writers Festival will be re-structured to an annual, year-long event in 2011 to cultivate interest in literary arts among the community and nurture writers and their works. With the positioning of the Festival as a strategic platform to grow the Singapore literary arts scene, the National Arts Council (NAC) has appointed Mr Paul Tan as Director of the Singapore Writers Festival with effect from 1 October 2010. He is responsible for the artistic direction, production and organisation of the Festival. 


Mr Tan is concurrently the Director (Strategic Marketing and Communications) in the Singapore Tourism Board until 31 January 2011.


Mr Tan is a familiar face in the Singapore literary arts scene. He is a prolific and accomplished writer as well as an inspiring mentor to budding writers. Two collections of his verse, Curious Roads (1994) and Driving into Rain (1998), won the Commendation and Merit Prizes at the Singapore Literature Prize competition. His writing has also been published in several anthologies and key literary sites. Apart from mentoring students in the Creative Arts Programme from 1998 to 2006, Mr Tan also mentored young adults in creative writing under NAC’s pioneer Mentor Access Project. He has served two terms on the NAC Arts Resource Panel (literature), was a committee member for the Singapore Writers Festival 1999 and a member of the Singapore Arts Festival 2001/2002 Programme Advisory Committee.


Mr Benson Puah, NAC Chief Executive Officer said, “The Singapore Writers Festival will play a strategic role in the development of literary arts in Singapore. The direction for the Festival will be to bring new focus to literary arts by engaging the wider community through a more inclusive scope of literary arts genres and to promote interest in creative literary expressions and Singapore literature. The Festival will also provide capability development opportunities for Singapore writers and help connect the local literary community with the global networks. With his experience as a writer, mentor and communications professional, Paul will be able to contribute fresh energies and perspectives to invigorate the festival and take it to another level.”


Mr Tan graduated with Masters of Arts in Culture and Communications from the University of East Anglia in 2002. He has a BA (Second Upper Honours) and majored in English Language and Literature in the National University of Singapore. Mr Tan has also served as Deputy Head, Editorial Promotion and Branding with the Singapore Press Holdings (2004-2007) and as a Broadcast Journalist with MediaCorp (1995-1999).


Mr Tan said, “After many years of involvement in the Singapore arts scene as a writer, supporter and mentor, I am delighted and humbled to be given the opportunity to step up and take on this important role in shaping the literary landscape through the Singapore Writers Festival. This is an important and critical platform to encourage a love for reading and writing in Singaporeans, to position Singapore as the gateway to Singapore and Asian literary works and to connect our literary community with the international literary networks. I am already thinking of how we can curate the programme for next year’s Festival and how to creatively reach out to and engage more Singaporeans. Certainly, together with the team, we hope to create new literary frontiers which will resonate with Singapore and global markets.”