Singapore Writers Festival 2012

Before I forget, the Singapore Writers Festival kicks off later this week. I'm not speaking this year, but the organisers very kindly invited me to moderate two panels:

Researching Singapore History
Panellists: Danièle Weiler, Gretchen Liu, Kevin Tan, Maxime Pilon
Date/Time: Saturday, 3 November, 7 - 8 p.m.
Venue: The Salon, National Museum of Singapore

Getting Lost; Getting Inspired
Panellists: Pamela Ho, Pico Iyer
Date/Time: Saturday, 10 November, 4 - 5 p.m.
Venue: ilovebooks.com Pavilion, Campus Green, Singapore Management University

Holy crap, can I tell you how excited I am? Pico Iyer, whose work I've been reading since I was a teenager. Gretchen Liu, who's written these gorgeous volumes about Singapore's visual heritage. Kevin Tan, until recently the president of the Singapore Heritage Society and who somehow finds the time to research and write extensively as well.

And then the newer names they're matched with: Danièle Weiler and Maxime Pilon, longtime Singapore residents and authors of The French in Singapore, and former radio deejay Pamela Ho, who went on this grand travel adventure around the world with her best friend.

I've been in touch with all the panellists over email, and there's been a really good vibe --- so yeah, I'm stoked about both panels.

I also just confirmed that I'll be reading at a book launch event at the festival. I have a short story, "Lighthouse", that's in a new collection of Singapore writing, Balik Kampung, edited by Verena Tay and published by Math Paper Press. Balik Kampung is being launched with two other Math Paper Press books:

Book launches by Math Paper Press: Balik Kampung, Ayam Curtain and Fish Eats Lion
Date/Time: Sunday, 4 November
Venue: ilovebooks.com Pavilion, Campus Green, Singapore Management University

"Balik kampung" means "to go home" in Malay, so you can tell ostensibly what the collection is about. I've been reading the other stories in the book --- by Yeow Kai Chai, Yong Shu Hoong, Gwee Li Sui, Dora Tan, Wong Shu Yun, Rosemarie Somaiah and of course Verena herself --- and I can tell you that no one writes about the same place in Singapore in the same way. My piece is more the kind of realist fiction I'm working on, but in other pieces there's a little magic realism, a little multiple perspective --- a little bit of this and that, so to speak. It's a good mix.

So yeah, three official appearances at the Singapore Writers Festival. You don't need a Festival Pass for the book launch, but you do for the other two events. Get it for $15 from SISTIC.

The Pass gives you entry to a whole bunch of other events as well; I'm particularly keen to seen Monique Truong, Krys Lee and of course my old friend Tan Soon Meng whose first children's book Pura the Cat is being launched. More about that soon!



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