These are the images from my attendance at the first half of Singapore Writers Festival 2016.
It was a pleasure and a privilege to participate as a panellist, reader, hot dog consumer and audience member. The SWF team, led by Kai Chai, did a wonderful job.
I particularly enjoyed catching up and chatting with new and old friends, as well as:
1) Appearing on the Writing from the Diaspora panel with Cathy Torres, Robin Hemley and Eric Tinsay Valles, and the Singapore Horror panel with Jeffrey Lim, Ng Yi-Sheng and Audrey Chin.
Butch Dalisay has a terrific article in The PhilStar on SWF which profiles our panel.
2) Sitting in the Chamber listening to Gwee and Kim Cheng ('home is where you knock on the door and they let you in') talk about Unwritten Country.
Here’s Gwee’s talk published at Singapore Poetry, and an important quote on the third way (not a given) for the future of Singapore literature.
“In this Singapore, the newsmaking meteors may come and go, but what people will talk more about is writers, books, and their ideas. The press will talk more about these. It will discuss the interests of works and the aesthetics of writers and make connections within literary traditions. The common goal of social beings will be to manifest and sustain the magic of writing, the power of writing.
Our readers will read Singaporean literature not to support Singaporean writing – can we stop saying that already? – but to encounter truly gripping works. Our readers will grow out of a blind awe for literary celebrities and into a committed dialogue with creators as thinkers.
We may have more book clubs – but, above and beyond that, we will have general knowledgeable citizens who understand the social disservice of wanting to pulp books they disagree with. We will understand that writing is precisely that place to experience newness and otherness, what constitutes basic knowledge!
You see, the true future of writing doesn’t lie in an environment with writing, award-winning or bestselling writing, but in an environment conducive for writing. And, for that to take shape, there has to be an understanding and respect for imaginative freedom.”
3) Reading with my fellow writers at the launch of Singapore Love Stories, published by Monsoon Books.
Images from the launch will be posted soon!
4) Taking Sophia to the book launch of Capital Misfits and BooksActually's Gold Standard, published by Math Paper Press. Unfortunately there are no photos of the launch as we had to leave the building for noise reasons and it’s hard to take pictures while wearing a baby harness.
5) Meeting Eka Kurniawan and listening to the panels on Speculative Fiction with Yi-Sheng, JY Yang and Jason Erik Lundberg. Images coming soon.
The Festival was a welcome refuge from the tidal wave of Trump that hit during the week.
More images from the last half of the festival will be appear on my blog soon.
You can also see images from Singapore literature events and readings here.