Back for the 16th edition, Singapore’s largest literary festival returns this month with a host of talks, workshops and events to inspire the country’s love for the written – and spoken – word. Gwen Pew speaks to the Singapore Writers Festival’s programme director, Paul Tan.
25 Oct 2013: Back for the 16th edition, Singapore’s largest literary festival returns this month with a host of talks, workshops and events to inspire the country’s love for the written – and spoken – word. ‘The Singapore Writers Festival has always sought to connect our audiences with literature in diverse ways, and through topics close to their hearts,’ says festival director Paul Tan.
This year’s theme is Utopia/ Dystopia, which Tan explains: ‘We picked the theme to shine a light on the darker side of humanity, through accessible topics such as crime, violence and war.’
Amongst the exciting line-up of over 190 authors this year are appearances by the UK’s first female Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy, journalist, children’s author and daughter of physicist Stephen Hawking, Lucy Hawking, and best-selling crime fiction writer Peter James. France-based Chinese Nobel Laureate Gao Xingjian will also be premiering his documentary Requiem for Beauty, while philosopher AC Grayling will present a lecture on our interactions with the world.
Of course, it’s not just about bringing in the big shots from overseas – plenty of local talents will be showcased too. ‘Some of the highlights include a revisit of classics like Animal Farm and Brave New World through the lens of Singaporean writers Gwee Li Sui and Adrian Tan and “guerrilla” literary performances around the Singapore Biennale installations,’ says Tan.
‘Other interesting speakers come from the associated genres of film, visual art and music such as Anthony Chen, Bani Haykal and Yusnor Ef,’ he continues. ‘We promise a lot of food for thought, catering to many different appetites.’