Literature seems to be losing its relevance, especially in light of the rising millennial culture. Tweets capped at 280 words, disappearing Snapchats, and Insta-stories have groomed a culture of immediacy. Sitting down to read a novel has become a novelty in of itself, but the Singapore Writers Festival 2018 is out to prove this wrong.
This year’s festivities are centred around the theme 界(jiè), which refers to the different world(s) we live in. Truly, we see it transcend genres and mediums, pushing the boundaries of what we know to be the literary arts. Taking place from 2 to 11 November 2018, there are some 310 programmes line up, out of which we’ve highlighted five to give you a taste what’s to come!
Turn Me On(line): Singaporean Poetry and Social Media
Social media is transforming poetry in a big way. Popular Instagram poets such as Rupi Kaur and Lang Leav are some of its strongest contributing forces. In this event, poet and literary critic, Gwee Li Sui, looks at Singaporean Poetry on the internet – from Lin Hsin Hsin to Nicole Choo – and how it connects with the greater disruption now experienced around the world. What defines these new versifiers and their readers? How are they revolutionising our sense of what poetry is?
Rhapsody in Verse
The Chinese term for “poetry” is shi ge, meaning “poem and song”. A marquee event in Lianhe Zaobao’s 95th anniversary celebrations, Rhapsody in Verse brings together the works of 16 Singaporean poets, such as Dan Ying and Yeng Pway Ngon, across generations. Put to new and original music by six young composers via a mix of ensembles and choirs, accompanied by piano, this one-of-a-kind concert showcases the beauty of lyricism in Chinese.
The Ghost in Your Head
An immersive and sensorial experience that engages guests to interact in various ways. Play a round of mahjong with Chinese author Eileen Chang (Lust, Caution). Or finally get a chance to eat those curiouser and curiouser delicacies in the Mad Hatter’s tea party from Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. You can also catch a series of film screenings (like 2006 anime Paprika and rare 1989 Japanese film, Raffles Hotel) and the magical, dreamy soundscapes of sonic alchemist Mervin Wong.
Str8 Up: World On The Street
If you’re a fan of hip-hop and current affairs, this is the event for you. Rap is a culturally rich art form that allows a person to communicate complex messages in rhythmic verse. Writers, musicians, and performance poets take the stage to engage you through poetry and hip-hop, highlighting concerns afflicting our time.
Film Screening: Norwegian Wood
Haruki Murakami is rising to become the defining author of our age. Catch his beloved lyrical novel Norwegian Wood translated onto the silver screen. On top of which, you can also catch an exclusive post-screening Q&A session with the film’s French-Vietnamese director Tran Anh Hung.