Singapore Writers Festival (SWF) is back. And it has largely but not wholly, gone virtual. This year will be the 22nd edition of the long-running festival which has hosted the likes of Nebula winner Neil Gaiman and other award-winning luminaries.
This year, the Singapore Writers’ Festival is all about intimacy in the age of the pandemic. What have the new norms brought about by the pandemic taught us about our relationships with ourselves, others and the environment?
Here we introduce you to six fun facts you might not know about the Singapore Writers’ Festival.
Art Spiegelman’s claim to fame is being the author and illustrator of Maus, which remains the only graphic novel to win a Pulitzer Prize. It depicts Jews as mice, Germans as cats and Poles as pigs. Maus is about Spiegelman’s father and his experiences as a holocaust survivor. If you’re familiar with Maus, it may surprise you that Art Spiegelman was also partially responsible for Garbage Pail Kids. An irreverent and darkly funny take on the then popular Cabbage Patch Kids, trading cards featuring Garbage Pail Kids were very popular in the 1980s. The popularity of the cards culminated in the release of a live-action movie in 1987.
Click here to learn more about Serious Laughter, the event hosted by Gwee Li Sui, featuring Art Spiegelman, including a live Q&A session!
Before the age of COVID-19, we might think of hordes of zombies when the word “pandemic” comes to mind. Who would have guessed that when the pandemic finally hit, the challenge would lie not in evading the undead but in simply staying home? Well, if COVID-19 has you re-assessing Singapore’s chances when it comes to full-fledged zombie apocalypse, you may want to look into attending this event.
This House Believes Singapore Would Survive the Zombie Apocalypse is a panel that is the outro of the SWF. Featuring an assortment of educators, poets, screenwriters, actresses and more, this bunch of multi-talented folks will try to determine if Singapore has what it takes to make it through a hypothetical zombie apocalypse.
You can access the event page here.
Singaporean rapper Akeem Jahat’s most popular song features Woodlands, a region in Singapore’s north. Though Woodlands seems like an odd place to show off, to Akeem it’s not strange at all – he’s from Woodlands after all. What you may not know about this homegrown slinger of rhymes is that he was one of the first solo hip-hop acts to feature in the Baybeats Festival!
This year, Akeem joins Inch and Shak, to talk about the role of music and ethics in Music and the Social Conscience.
You can access the event page here.
Did you know SWF’s moderators are also extremely busy and accomplished creatives? When you look at some of their profiles, you start to wonder… Is it really true that we all get 24 hours a day? Take Ruby Thiagarajan, for example, who is the book curator for café/bookstore/event space The Moon, editor-in-chief of Mynah Magazine and a writer herself. This year, Ruby will be moderating Baring Souls: Sharing Your Selves through Writing. Authors Tita Larasati, Melissa De Silva and Angjolie Mei will have a conversation about what it means to publish their own non-fiction works. How much to share and what does it mean to pull material from your own life?
By the way, look up each of these women on SWF’s website. They are all incredible.
The event page can be accessed here.
Apart from being supported by the usual government-linked agencies, did you know that the SWF is also funded by a whole bevy of embassies? Canada, Indonesia, France, and Korea all help to support the SWF. The biggest sponsor of them all? None other than the Embassy of the United States.
You can check out SWF 2020’s line-up here. A festival pass costs $20 and it’ll give you access to workshops, talks, readings, panel discussions… the lot! Tell us what excites you about SWF this year – share your thoughts with us on our Facebook page!