SWF 2011 pens a new chapter with over 170 events


Complete programming schedule and participating writers revealed


With a total of 126 featured writers lined up to participate in 177 programmes guided by the overarching Transaction theme, Singapore Writers Festival 2011 (SWF) is ready to add a bustle of literary activity to the vibrant Bras Basah arts district. Organised by the National Arts Council, this year’s edition of the festival will take place from 22nd to 30th October 2011 and aims to reach out to a broad and diverse audience.


Mr. Paul Tan, Festival Director, SWF, said, “Now in our 14th edition, we’re delighted that this year’s SWF has once again attracted a diverse range of local and international talents who will create an environment for a lively exchange of ideas. The nine-day long festival celebrates writers and writing from various genres including fiction, poetry, film, music and visual arts.  We hope the Festival will not only give passionate readers the opportunity to encounter their favourite authors beyond the pages of books, but will also attract the man on the street to experience inspiration and creativity through the written and spoken word.”


SWF 2011 Programme Line-Up

To reach out to broad audiences, the SWF 2011 programme line-up comprises Festival Pass events, ticketed and free events.


Festival Pass Events

At $15 each, the newly-introduced Festival Pass grants access to close to 90 Panel discussions, In Conversation With, as well as Meet-the-Author, Screenwriter events and the Musee d’OrsayReadings.


Panel topics range from serious dialogues on the art of political biography by Irene NgOoi Kee Beng and Asad Latif; politics and society with Andrey Kurkov, Yang Lian and Catherine Lim; to light-hearted subjects such as humour in writing by Tom Cho and Neil Humphreys; writing as therapy with Francois Lelord and Joe Haldeman as well as those focused on the literary craft such as writing across cultures with Kunal Basu, Meira Chand, Justin Hill and Dawn Farnham;and a closer look at the short story form with F Sionil JoseDave Chua and Jeffrey Lim. One highlight panel is “You can write too” featuring television celebrities Jeanette Aw and Edmund Chen, with reformed gangster Joshua Foo and creativity guru Fredrik Haren.


Other topics tabled for discussion include a celebration of contemporary poetry by Marc NairChris Mooney-Singh and Cheran; trends in Chinese Fiction writing by Murong Xuecun and Xi Ni’Er (Chia Hwee Pheng); Singapore’s literary heritage with Robert Yeo and Andrew Koh; writing about China with Frank DikotterYang Lian and Chong Yuan Chien; and measuring happiness with Kari NarsFrancois Lelord and Nattavudh Powdthavee.


In Conversation With presents the pairing of two authors for more intimate discussion sessions. These include, one of Singapore’s literary pioneers Edwin Thumboo and England’s former Poet Laureate Andrew Motion on writing poetry; Noor Hasnah Adam in conversation with Fira Basukion what inspires the two young female writers writing in Malay and Indonesian; and the curious pairing of Brian Thacker, a humorous travel writer, in conversation with popular philosopher, Julian Baggini.


In this year’s Meet-the-Author sessions, the audience will have the opportunity to hear from popular Indonesian author Putu Wijaya discussing the secret of writing across several genres, Chong Wing Hong on the trials and triumphs of writing in Chinese in modern Singapore, Nicholas Hasluck’s reflection on his literary and legal careers, Kari Nars about greed and the world’s greatest fraudsters’ploys, and award-winning author and diplomat Vikas Swarup on writing Q&A, the novel that was adapted into the blockbuster Slumdog Millionaire.


The Musee d’Orsay Readings are two special evenings of literary performances at the National Museum of Singapore. Set against the best impressionist art from the Musee d’Orsay which rarely leave France, the two evenings promise to leave you marvelling at the beauty of words and visual arts.


Finally, showcasing how words are transformed into film is a number of Screenwriter events featuringLee ShinhoBi FeiyuHao Yu-HsiangMichael Chabon and Prabda Yoon.


Other Ticketed Events

In addition to the previously announced SWF Publishing Symposium, a two-day seminar on the world of publishing and writing, as well as the newly-introduced SWF Lectures series with Steven Levitt,Bi Feiyu and Michael Chabon, a number of other affordable ticketed events will form part of this year’s festival.


Workshops & Master Classes

Budding authors should sharpen their pencils in anticipation of Workshops and Master Classes by established writers from a spectrum of disciplines. For example, screenwriting buffs can learn about the importance of plot, characters, research, pacing, and dramatic effectiveness from Lee Shinho, while Grandmaster of Science Fiction writing, Joe Haldeman, will share the fundamentals of writing a compelling science fiction novel.


Literary Meals

The Literary Meals programme offers a rare opportunity to dine with your favourite authors – distinguished poet and writer, Andrew Motion; author of Q&AVikas Swarup; food memoir writerCheryl Tan; contemporary Chinese author Yang Lian; and British philosopher Julian Baggini – in an intimate group setting at The Arts House restaurants.


Literary Tours

Set against the backdrop of The National Museum of Singapore’s History Gallery exhibition areas,Literary Tours are a visual and literary feast that will connect audiences with Singapore’s history through readings and performances of poems and literary works by famous Singapore writers of yesteryear and today including Edwin Thumboo, Robert Yeo, Alvin Pang, Ting Kheng Siong, and Mohamed Latiff Mohamed.


Free Events

Finally, many SWF activities remain available for all to enjoy without charge. To cultivate the next generation of readers, a series of Little Lit! activities have been catered specifically to kids and families. These range from a hands-on session with Singaporean authors Adeline Foo and Eliza Teoh, who will share tips on how to write interesting diary entries, to a Mandarin reading by celebrity and Chinese children’s book author Edmund Chen on the importance of being eco-aware.


SWF 2011 will also show its support for the industry by opening itself as a platform for authors to launch new titles. Brand New Books will see the launch of A Daughter Remembers by Ho Minfong, a memoir by her late mother, Li Lienfung; and Coast, a mono-titular anthology from indie bookshop and publisher BooksActually.


In addition, Off the Page features programmes that cross disciplines such as an exhibition of literary-themed art installations by Donna Ong, Vertical Submarine and Thai artist Torlarp Larpjaroensookat various sites in and around the Singapore Art Museum. Off the Page will also see diverse outdoor performances at SMU’s Big Steps amphitheatre. They include poetry slams, tongue-in-cheek readings, showcases of Singapore songwriters and original music, an exhibition debating match between students from Singapore Management University (SMU) and Nanyang Technological University as well as story-telling sessions.


Finally, one special collaboration in SWF2011 is ‘PasSAGES’ – a unique community project which matched eight Singapore writers with residents in a hospice and old-age home to unearth personal stories that would have otherwise gone unheard. The project will culminate in a reading and sharing session during the Festival with selected short stories published online on the Quarterly Literary Review Singapore.


“With this range of activities, we hope to engage and excite a broad swath of Singaporeans. Just come to the campus green in SMU, the lovely patch of green between the National Museum of Singapore and Singapore Art Museum, and brace yourself for some thought-provoking transactions with words!” added Mr Tan.


Festival passes and tickets are available for purchase at www.sistic.com.sg (Literary Meals tickets may be purchased at The Arts House or on www.bytes.sg). For regular updates on Festival programmes and ticketing details, literature fans and interested public can visit the Festival website at www.singaporewritersfestival.com.


For more information, please read on:

Annex A – Singapore Writers Festival 2011 Participating Writers
Annex B – Singapore Writers Festival 2011 Programming Line-Up
Annex C – Facts & Figures