5 things for literary lovers to check out at this year’s Singapore Writers Festival

As the Singapore Writers Festival returns for its 19th edition, about 330 local and international writers will gather in our Little Red Dot over 10 days for myriad events centred around the theme of ‘Sayang’ (it’s a Malay term of endearment that means love). There’ll be loads of stuff happening, so be sure to take note of what you really wanna go for.

Here, we break it down for you into the five festival tracks.

SWF Lectures

Among the six lecture topics are ones like ‘Privacy versus Surveillance: What the Panama Papers mean for Everyone in the 21st Century’ by Frederik Obermaier, one of the two German journalists who broke the news; as well as ‘Reinventing Poetry for the Internet Age’ by literary critic Marjorie Perloff. For something closer to home, check out ‘Unwritten Country’ by Gwee Li Sui and Boey Kim Cheng — it’s an examination of Singapore’s heritage and literature.

There will also be performances that delve into the evolution of the local literary scene, a film screening of Flowers of Taipei, and a closing debate where two teams — made out of names like Adrian Tan, Fakkah Fuzz, Oniatta Effendi and Gwee Li Sui, gather to debate the motion — ‘This House Believes that Singaporeans are in the Mood for Love’.

SWF Classes

Learn about everything from penning fiction based on real-world issues to writing for children to adapting books into stage plays at the masterclasses. Or go for workshops with topics such as strategies in non-linear storytelling, improving dialogue in fictional stories, and the techniques of non-fiction. Plus, 14 talks will be held this year, covering issues like adoption, terrorism in fiction, Europe’s migrant crisis, the importance of book reviews and more.

SWF For Families

Get your little ones in on the action, with 68 programmes that include stop-motion filmmaking workshops, illustration activities and storytelling sessions.

SWF Beyond

Intercultural performances, tours of indie bookstores, behind-the-scenes glimpses of local publishing houses, and film screenings will be featured to ‘showcase the possibilities and expand perspectives of the written text’.


For those of you who have short attention spans, this one’s a little less serious. Stop by The Arts House lawn for a variety of free performances, an art market, and loads of catchy tunes by homegrown music acts like Lew, Ciao Turtle and Zee Aura.

Singapore Writers Festival 2016 is from Nov 4-13 at various locations. Festival pass $20; there will also be additional free and ticketed events.

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