Opening of Singapore Writers’ Festival 2003


~ Literal Magnetism ~


 Date:  21 August 2003 (Thursday) 
 Time:  6.30 pm
 Venue:  Asian Civilisations Museum (Empress Place)
 Guest-of-Honour:  Mr Yatiman Yusof
 Senior Parlimentary Secretary 
 Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts


The written word springs to life this Thursday when the 2003 Singapore Writers’ Festival opens!  Since the Festival programme was launched on 9 July 2003, the biennial literary fiesta has drawn much interest among Singaporeans and looks set to attract even more! Here’s a quick glimpse of the magnetism…


The week-long celebration of literary arts begins with the Opening Reception and Forum on 21 August 2003.  It will be officiated by Mr Yatiman Yusof, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for the Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts.  The Opening Forum, chaired by renowned local playwright Eleanor Wong, will discuss the topic of violence, The Imagery of Brutality – Violence in Contemporary Literature, with critically acclaimed writers Dominique Sigaud, Ronny Someck, Hong Ying, Mawar Shafei and Sivakami.


Special Events of the Week


Celebrity Readings

26 Aug 2003, 8.00pm, Asian Civilisations Museum (Empress Place)

To raise the magnetic quotient of the Festival, a star-studded cast of celebrities will be making their appearances, reading specially selected literary works! Be sure to catch popular Channel U hosts Michelle Chong read her favourite, No Parking On Odd Days by the late playwright Kuo Pao Kun and a collection of essays, Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris while Guo Liang will read from critic and writer Yu Jie’s first novel, Xiang Cao Shan, a collection of love letters between a famous male writer and a female fan. Mr Chan Soo Sen, Minister of State (Ministry of Education & Ministry of Community Development & Sports) will be sharing his personal Chinese composition.  Senior radio producer and presenter Meenatchi Sabapathy will be presenting Arivoma Naam, which touches on thirumanthiram – an old literature of ancient Tamil arts of yoga and medicine. Multi-talented artists, Sheik Haikel and Anna Belle Francis from Music & Movement, will be reading together, an act that should not be missed! The readings will be hosted by Dr K K Seet, Chairman of Singapore Writers’ Festival 2003 Organising Committee.


Film Screening - Blush

22 August 2003, 7.00pm, Lido Classics

Fans of Chinese writer Su Tong and film buffs can look forward to the film screening of Blush.  Set in 1940s China, the film centres on the friendship between two women, the strong-willed Qiuyi and her meek friend Xiao’e, and the man they both desire.  Author Su Tong will be present for a post-show dialogue. 


Poetry Slam

23 August 2003, 8.00pm, Velvet Underground, Zouk

Poetry Slam, the revolutionary performance poetry concept popular in the United States and Europe, is also beginning to gain a foothold in Singapore, slowly but surely.  The Poetry Slam Masterclass to be conducted by Marc Smith was fully booked within two weeks after it opened for registration.  Response for the Poetry Slam Competition has been encouraging and those who are interested in participating in the event may still register online at  The stage is set for participants to enthral audiences with their showmanship!


SMS Haiku Hi Cool! Competition

The inaugural cyber competition, started in July, drew more than 500 entries in a span of 23 days, as budding poets and haiku enthusiasts gamely exhibited their artistic flair for words.  The panel of judges was pleasantly surprised by the high quality of entries received and had a tough time selecting 10 entries which aptly captured small and spontaneous moments in our daily lives.  Members of the public can now vote for their favourite haiku online from 14 –20 August and win attractive prizes. Vote through the website at


The 2003 Singapore Writers’ Festival, to be held from 21 to 27 August 2003, brings together 30 international and Singapore writers.  They include award-winning novelist Bernadine Evaristo (United Kingdom), Ronny Someck (Israel), Dilip Kumar (India), Dominique Sigaud (France), Jiao Tong (Taiwan), Marsli N.O. (Malaysia).  Singapore talents featured include V Ikkuvanam, Rohani Din, Tan Chee Lay, Lin Kang, Su-Chen Christine Lim and Dr Leong Liew Geok.    


The public can participate in forums, in-conversation discussions, talks, readings, and even indulge in some tête-à-tête with writers over tea and breakfast sessions.  Topics to be explored at the forums range from the portrayal of violence in English and Chinese novels, to the depiction of women in Malay and Tamil literature.


The 2003 Singapore Writers’ Festival is sponsored by the Singapore Press Holdings.


Members of the media are cordially invited to join us and lend coverage to the opening reception and forum, as well as the celebrity reading.  More information is attached at:


  • Annex A – Programme for opening reception and forum
  • Annex B – Programme for celebrity reading
  • Annex C – Media reply slip