Singapore Writers' Festival 2003 - Literal Magnetism




~ Literal Magnetism ~


21-27 August 2003


Sponsored by Singapore Press Holdings


Literary mobility has just been given a whole new dimension.


This August, the written word comes alive, and even goes cyber when the SMS Haiku Hi Cool! Competition swings into gear as part of the Singapore Writers’ Festival 2003. As part of this biennial week-long literary festival, haiku enthusiasts may send their poetic contributions via Short Message Service (SMS), to vie for online votes and stand to win attractive prizes.


Others are welcomed to wax lyrical at the Festival’s Poetry Slam session, inspired by the revolutionary performance poetry concept that has gained a foothold in the United States, Europe, Canada and even Israel.  Hosted by Poetry Slam’s inventor Marc Smith, and housed at the ultra-chic Velvet Underground in Zouk, Poetry Slam is certainly a night of rhythmic pleasure not to be missed!


These are just two events amidst the myriad of over 30 Festival activities which promise to enthral literary connoisseurs and curious amateurs alike. 


“Interactivity is the quintessential buzzword for this year’s Festival, and we hope that aspiring writers, literary enthusiasts and the man-in-the-street would be able to enjoy and participate in the whole host of activities set to magnetise them into the world of the literary arts.  Young or old, trendy or traditional, there’s something for everyone which will set your adrenalin rushing and fire your creativity.” says Ms Chua Ai Liang, Deputy Director for Programme and International Development Division at the National Arts Council.  


From August 21 to 27, audiences will be treated to a congregation of thirty writers hailing from Australia, China, India, Indonesia, France, Malaysia, Poland, United States, Taiwan, Israel, United Kingdom and Singapore.   This A-list of writers includes award-winning novelist Su Tong (China) of “Raise the Red Lantern” fame, renowned poet-novelist Hong Ying (United Kingdom) and celebrated writer Helvy Tiana Rosa (Indonesia).  Prominent Tamil poet Kalapriya (India) and influential writers from Australia like Gail Jones and Merlinda Bobis will also partake in this literary rendezvous.


The Festival will also showcase prominent local talents like Nan Zi, Gabriel Wu, P Thiruvengadam and Ramah Raja.  Look out for critically acclaimed filmmaker Royston Tan, playwright Eleanor Wong, National Arts Council Young Artist Award 2000 recipient Felix Cheong, multi-talented poet, critic and short story writer Djamal Tukimin and award-winning writer Chairul Fahmy Hussaini.  


These writers will participate in forums, in-conversation discussions, talks, readings, and even indulge in some tête-à-tête with audiences 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.


Festival highlights include the Festival Opening Forum, titled The Imagery of Brutality – Violence in Contemporary Literature; and in-conversation sessions like Dangerous Curves: Women and Sensuality in Chinese Literature, and a reading by celebrities such as Kym Ng, Guo Liang and Meenatchi Sabapathy.  Other highlights include talks like Women in My Writings by celebrated Indian writer Sivakami, And the Word Became Flesh: Writing from Print to Screen featuring Royston Tan and Lee Thean-jeen, Different Strokes for Different Folks – 101 Ways To Get Published hosted by writer Yeng Pway Ngon, and a Malay Poetry and Prose Reading session hosted by actor-presenter Harris Zaidi.


Ms Irene Ngoo, Assistant Vice President for Corporate Relations of the Singapore Press Holdings says “The Writers' Festival brings world-class writers and literary works to Singapore. We hope to promote the appreciation of literature and writing through our sponsorship of this premier literary event and contribute towards making our society more vibrant and creative.”


The Festival will culminate in the much-anticipated Golden Point Awards ceremony which celebrates the winners of the biennial NAC-SPH poetry and short story writing competition.


Please refer to the annexes attached for more details:

  • Annex 1 – Festival fact sheet 
  • Annex 2 – Information on SMS Haiku
  • Annex 3 – Information on Poetry Slam
  • Annex 4 – Sponsor’s Statement