Arts Books Preview Singapore

Preview: Singapore Writers Festival 2017 – Aram


Celebrating its 20th edition this year, the Singapore Writers Festival (SWF) makes a triumphant return this November, bigger and better than ever, with plenty of high profile international speakers, exciting workshops and unmissable launches!


From its inception in 1986, the SWF has since grown to become on of Asia’s top literary events. In both profiling home-grown writers and bringing in celebrities of the international literary scene, the SWF has transformed into an all encompassing, multilingual platform to engage Singaporeans to the literary arts.


For the very first time, the SWF will be taking its very first Tamil theme of ‘Aram’, taken from the ancient Tamil literary text Thirukkural, and literally translates to ‘do good’. As such, this year’s SWF will revolve around themes of morality, ethics and what it truly means to ‘do good’. SWF has commissioned two artists to respond to the theme this year and present their final works during the festival: photographer Alecia Neo will be producing a video art project and photos as key visuals for the festival (seen in this post), while performer Deborah Emmanuel will be writing an original song to premiere during SWF. The SWF will also be holding an Aram Conference, where speakers from across languages and cultures will be hosting conversations about topics such as inter-culturalism and cross border conflicts.


This year, the festival will be featuring Ireland as its Country Focus, bringing in a total of eight critically acclaimed award winning Irish authors including Gerald Dawe, Colin Barrett, Paul McVeigh, Rob Doyle, Claire Keegan, Deirdre Sullivan, Eilis Ni Dhuibhne and Abby Oliviera. Irish authors won’t be the only ones in attendance though, as the festival brings in literary giants from the likes of author Junot Diaz (The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao) and his domestic partner, comic book writer and novelist Marjorie Liu (Monstress, Black Widow), as well as Jay Asher, whose teen novel Thirteen Reasons Why has been adapted into the Netflix smash hit TV series of the same name. Also look out for authors such as Tony Parsons and Ken Liu, as well as non-fiction writers including journalist Ian Johnson, who won the 2001 Pulizer Prize for his coverage of the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in China, and poets such as British poet Simon Armitage, best known for his dark comic poetry. Even the ‘sequential arts’ (comics and graphic novels) will be represented this year, with Benjamin Dix, Ben Katchor and Sophia Jansson, niece of Moomin creator Tove Jansson coming down to deliver talks.


As always, the SWF will also be featuring a live, performance element to the celebrations. At SWF stage, festival goers will be treated to storytelling, performance poetry and even standup comedians from the likes of Fakkah Fuzz, Rishi Budhari, Jinx Yeo and Sharul Channa. The SWF will also showcase a series of short films based on local writing from local filmmakers with Utter 2017: SingLit Unearthed, produced by The Filmic Eye, and of course, the much anticipated, uproariously fun SWF closing debate, which will revolve around the debate title of ‘This House Believes that Kiasuism is A Good Singaporean Trait’ (because we all know Singaporeans love a good argument)


With a smorgasbord of activities to choose from, you’d do best to start planning ahead and getting the most out of the 10 day long festival. Whether its taking advantage of the numerous events available to you with a single festival pass, or picking out your favourite authors to meet live, there’s something for everyone this SWF, and they can rest assured that yes, they will be doing good!

The Singapore Writers Festival (SWF) takes place from 3rd – 12th November around the Civic District. To attend events, visitors must either purchase a festival pass for $25, allowing access to over 100 events, or purchase separate tickets for specific events. For full ticketing details, check out the SWF website here

Singapore Writers Festival 2017
When: 3rd – 12th November
Where: Civic District
Early bird discounts for tickets from now till 30th September. 

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