Highlights of the Singapore Writers Festival 2020
The annual Singapore Writers Festival is back, and as an online festival for the first time. Organised by the National Arts Council, the multi-lingual festival will run from 30 Oct to 8 Nov. Singapore and international authors and thinkers will engage audiences through online dialogues and workshops that explore what intimacy could look like in a time of physical distancing. Read on for our picks of events not to be missed at this year’s festival.
For something light-hearted
Art Spiegelman: Serious Laughter offers a look at the skillful way in which comics bring up serious societal issues in a light-hearted manner. The session features award-winning cartoonist Art Spiegelman, the author and illustrator of the popular graphic novel Maus, and a former contributing artist to The New Yorker magazine. The discussion is moderated by Singaporean poet, graphic artist and literary critic Gwee Li Sui.
For a touch of romance
The conversation, A (Teenage) Love Affair, is for all die-hard romantics and fans of the romance novel. The panel of speakers includes young adult fiction novelists Anittha Thanabalan, Cassandra Clare and Roshani Chokshi. The conversation is moderated by writer and comics publisher Felicia Low-Jimenez, and it will cover topics such as why readers gush over fictional couples in romance arcs, and how fictional romance has shaped the way people view their relationships in real life.
For thrills and spills
Thrill-seekers will enjoy Play This Story: The Book of Red Shadows, an interactive, psychological horror game based on a fictional universe by the speculative fiction author Victor Fernando R. Ocampo. The participant plays the role of a government agent involved in a secret Red Shadow Project, with no memory of one’s past. Participants must use their creativity and wits to complete assignments, evade a stalker, and escape the dark past of the character they play. This interactive activity takes place over email, and it is co-presented by local online media company LUCK-IT.
For a taste of travel
If you find yourself looking wistfully at old travel photographs from trips taken before the pandemic, consider taking part in Travel Writing In The Time Of Quarantine. The workshop, led by Singapore Literature Prize nominee and author Ning Cai, will guide participants to discover their untold stories, and offer practical tips on penning a travelogue or travel-themed memoir.
For aural delights
The Arts House Presents Night Spin 182.7 will see The Arts House become the festival’s radio station. Listen out for nightly podcasts and vodcasts throughout the festival, including interviews with artists and writers featured in the festival, as well as radio plays by theatre practitioners Grace Kalaiselvi and Edith Podesta, and theatre group Second Breakfast Company.