The Singapore Writers Festival is growing up so fast. At just 15 years old, the event has become a mainstay on the international writing scene, beloved by both bibliophiles and literary groupies.
Having hosted the likes of Michael Chabon, Steve Levitt, Bi Feiyu, Gail Simone and Neil Gaiman, the festival has secured its rightful spot on the literary must-do list.
The combination of world-class lectures, workshops and events – together with the sights, sounds, smells and succulent bites of Singapore – make the SWF the perfect fall destination.
Though the international literary circuit is chock full of festivals and events, the Singapore Writers Festival stands apart. Though initially just an art festival offshoot and springboard for Singaporean authors, the event has grown substantially.
Not only is it one of the circuit’s surprisingly few multi-lingual festivals (providing English, Malay, Tamil and Chinese panels and translations), but the diversity of themes and topics gives the event a broad appeal.
Love whipping up fantastic food pieces? Check out the scrumptiously titled discussion “Lip-Smacking, Finger-Licking Good Writing” with pros Leslie Tay and Sylvia Tan. Prefer the highbrow fare? Absolutely do not miss the big ticket lecture with “The Hours” author Michael Cunningham – who just happens to be a Pulitzer Prize winner. Harboring a secret love of sports writing or kid lit? Satisfy your desire for both over drinks with pro-wrestler (turned successful non-fiction and children’s author) Mick Foley.
However, the festival isn’t simply for ogling literary celebs; the SWF is a chance to sharpen your skills, show off your work, and (fingers crossed) maybe even walk away with an agent or book deal.
The festival is flush with workshops, lectures and symposiums outlining exactly how to get your novel, poem, biography, ebook or screenplay from idea to execution to distribution. If you’ve ever dreamed of seeing your work on the big screen or bookshop shelves, the SWF will show you the way. For those specifically looking to get published, absolutely do not miss the 2-day publishing symposium held concurrently with the main events.
The ten-day festival is fantastically affordable for burgeoning writers and lit geeks. The general festival pass is a cool $15 USD and special events range from $10 for small lectures to $30 for popular workshops.
If you want to cough up the big bucks, $80 will give you the enviable opportunity to share a meal and talk shop with one of the festivals premier authors. Starving artists should not be deterred, however, as the festival also offers a plethora of freebie events and activities (though some require pre-registration).
One fantastic aspect of the Singapore Writers Festival is location, location, location. Events are held throughout the Singapore Art Museum, School of the Arts and National Library (among others).
Working the SWF circuit gives attendees the added bonus of checking some must see attractions (all located just minutes from Bras Basah metro station) off their tourist wish list.
Between workshops, visitors can also wander through nearby churches, parks, sculpture gardens and plazas, enjoying the warm, misty November weather.
To get in on the festival fun, visit the fabulously comprehensive www.singaporewritersfestival.com for ticketing information and a complete list of events, workshops and participating authors.