The Singapore Writers Festival Returns This November With Its First-Ever Outdoor Festival Village, Over 200 Programmes And More!



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The Arts House and the fully-pedestrianised Anderson Bridge area of the Civic District will be transformed into a literary festival venue from 4 to 20 November 2022. 

The 25th Singapore Writers Festival (SWF)

Date: 4 to 20 Nov 2022

Coming back with a bang for its 25th edition, the Singapore Writers Festival (SWF) returns with its first-ever outdoor Festival Village, over 200 in-person programmes and of diverse literary communities coming together again. 

Located in the heart of Singapore’s Civic District, SWF takes over the newly pedestrianised area between Anderson Bridge and Empress Lawn, with an extended community space, where festivalgoers can, for the first time ever, enjoy a slew of exciting activities over the three Festival weekends.

Scroll on to read up more on what you can expect at this year's SWF:

Festival Village

Photo Credits: Arts House Limited 

SWF kicks things up a notch this year with a pop-up Festival Village featuring an array of programmes for festivalgoers to look forward to!

Free Music Performances 

  • BEBAS

Venue: Festival Village
Date: 12 Nov 2022
Time: 8pm to 9pm
Fee: Free Admission

The performance of BEBAS will showcase Kumpulan Bebas Melata, a group of female writers and poets who have written ample works on various topics including life, spiritual well-being and love. This showcase will also feature an all-female band that will perform together with the writers from Kumpulan Bebas Melata. The poems will be read, sung and performed in an all-female showdown of musical talent and literary flair.

  • Call It Singaporeana

Venue: Festival Village
Date: 
13 Nov 2022
Time: 
5pm to 6pm & 8pm to 9pm
Fee:
 Free Admission

Poet Laremy Lee joins forces with rock and roll band General Lee and folk musicians The Good Company in a re-narration of Singapore's history through poem and song. With an equal sense of kitsch and cutural consciousness, they introduce to you Singaporeana, a retelling of Singapore's history, myths, and legends, told through broken rose-tinted lenses worn slightly askew.

  • Gemasakti

Venue: Festival Village
Date: 
19 Nov 2022
Time: 
7.30pm to 8pm, 8.30pm to 9pm & 9.30pm to 10pm
Fee: 
Free Admission

Featuring three sets of bands and groups performing poems by young writers, this performance will showcase a diverse range of music genres including pop, rock, and ballads. The performance will bring together poets and musicians to create sumptuous pairings of verse and music.

  • When The Wind Blows

Venue: Festival Village
Date: 
12 Nov 2022
Time:
6pm to 6.45pm
Fee: 
Free Admission

The wind is blowing. Do you hear the conversation within? When a poem inspires the melody, the words are given new life. Like the sound of the cello which is closest to the human voice, the voice of the piano can be as soothing as a stream of running water. So sit back and be mesmerised by the music of composer Liong Kit Yeng and cellist Chee Jun Sian as they joined our Singaporean poets in this poetic sharing session.

Family Programmes

At the Festival Village, parents can also have some family fun with their children at various interactive SWF Playground workshops and more!

  • [Workshop] Break It Down Now…With Bugs

Venue: Festival Village
Date: 
5 Nov 2022
Time: 
10am to 11.30am
Fee: 
$20

Bugged by the shocking amount of food waste in Singapore? Meet the superhero that could make a difference - the black soldier fly! Learn how this superstar helps to break down food waste into fertiliser, even if you're afraid of them. Introduce your eager explorers to new ways of reducing food waste (which in 2019 amounted to 744 million kg of the equivalent of nearly 51,000 double decker buses). Explore a range of mystery boxes where they'll get to see, smell, and for braver individuals, touch live insects.

This programme is co-presented with Closetful of Books and recommended for ages 9 - 12.

  • [Workshop] How To Keep This Plant Alive

Venue: Festival Village
Date: 
20 Nov 2022
Time: 
11am to 12pm
Fee: 
$25

It's very hard to kill this plant, they said. And yet, you've somehow managed to do so. If you're green with plant-envy, and want 'this time' to be different, learn from expert farmers in this interactive session. Build the right foundations and see how taking a small step to grow your own edible greens can be better for the earth and bring new flavours to your meals. With new knowledge, bravely take home a pot of edible greens to nurture.

This programme is co-presented with Closetful of Books and is recommended for ages 6 to 12 years old.

  • My Parents Would Be Cooler If…

Venue: Festival Village
Date: 
19 Nov 2022
Time: 
10am to 11am
Fee: 
Free

Cooler If… Growing up sometimes means feeling like the things you once loved aren't cool anymore, but what if the generational gap isn't as big as it seems? Join Vivian Teo and Far'ain Jaafar and their children in this casual familyfriendly banter about favourite childhood books, films, and music now and then. Kids, maybe your parents are actually cooler than you think!

This programme is recommended for families and ages 8 – 12.

Poetry Readings

  • Read It If You Dare: A Twilight Reading

Venue: Festival Village
Date: 5 Nov 2022
Time: 
8pm to 9pm
Fee: 
Free

What secrets will come out late at night? In this twilight reading hosted by Daryl Qilin Yam, festival authors dig deep and spill their thrills, fears, and regrets in response to a series of dares.

This programme is made possible with the support of the U.S. Embassy Singapore.

  • Festival Closing Event with Cyril Wong: If This Is the End… What Else Is There?

Venue: Festival Village
Date: 20 Nov 2022
Time:
8.30pm to 9pm
Fee: 
Free

We close out the 25th edition of the festival with a reading of ‘If…Else’ by Cyril Wong himself. With intricate soundscapes accompanying his striking verses, let this special rendition of the poem take you through the night. We started out with ‘If’, and now we’ll end it like this.

SWF SunSets: DJ Sessions

Venue: Festival Village
Date: 5, 6, 13, 18 & 19 Nov 2022 
Time: 
6.30pm to 7.30pm
Fee: 
Free

There’s no better place to be than with a sundowner at the Festival Village during golden hour as some of the city’s best DJs spin us into the night with SWF SunSets: DJ Sessions. This series is guest curated by industry stalwart Joshua P.

F&B Offerings

Venue: Festival Village

A celebration would be incomplete without food and drinks, and SWF’s Festival Village is peppered with a variety of F&B offerings including food trucks. Complete with seating areas for Festivalgoers to rest and revel in the written and spoken word, the Festival Village is perfect for soaking in the festive vibes amidst the scenic views of the historic arts and cultural precinct.

Distinguished Speakers

Eunoia Kata: Hikmat dari pemikiran kata-kata lagu 90-an

Venue: The Arts House, Living Room
Date: 5 Nov 2022 
Time: 
12.30pm to 1.30pm
Fee: 
Festival Pass

Although the music and lyrics of the 90s are almost thirty years old today, we still listen, enjoy, and memorise them as if they were released just yesterday. What makes the music of the 90s so special, and what are the ingredients that make these songs ever-relevant and fresh-sounding? How has it shaped the minds of an entire generation? These are some of the questions that will be discussed by musician and poet Khair Yasin, writer and Cultural Medallion honouree Isa Kamari, and writer Khairool Haque.

Jeanette Winterson: If We Can Imagine It

Venue: Victoria Theatre
Date: 12 Nov 2022 
Time: 
4.30pm to 5.30pm
Fee: 
$40

Jeanette Winterson takes us on a wild ride in her latest speculative work, 12 Bytes, in which she ruminates, “if you can’t love, you can’t live, no matter how smart you are: things end up being jangly, hollow, and ultimately worthless”. With the lines of reality and dystopia increasingly blurring, what does it mean to be alive and to love? Jeanette Winterson reflects on the power of imagination bearing fruit, artificial intelligence, and where we could be going next.

Franny Choi: The World Keeps Ending and the World Goes On

Venue: The Arts House, Chamber 
Date: 6 Nov 2022 
Time: 
4pm to 5pm
Fee:
$30

How do you grapple with the unrelenting waves of time and tragedy, and does the solution to this precarity lie somewhere between the human or the machine, between science or art? Poets Joses Ho and Franny Choi discuss the universal terminus, the end of the road, the point at which all things converge—the end, and the moments after. Delving into Choi's newest collection of poetry, they have a conversation about honouring the moment we are in and the people we are in it with, even if we are standing at the edge of this world.

This programme is made possible with the support of the U.S. Embassy Singapore.

Nate Marshall: PSA: This Poem Will Hurt

Venue: ACM, Discovery Room
Date: 19 Nov 2022 
Time: 
11am to 12pm
Fee: 
Festival Pass

There's power in having your poetry described as “firecracker protest”, an "anger of unaccounted injustices", and “backhand slaps of what-you-didn'tknow-you-needed". How can disobediance become a part of your creative impulse? Known for serving up verses that deliver a real punch to the system, these poets share how they wield language in a way that carries the right amount of swag and a whole lotta verve.

This programme is made possible with the support of the U.S. Embassy Singapore.

Lilian Thuram: What About Football: Unwanted but Necessary Truths

Venue: NGS Ngee Ann Kongsi Auditorium
Date: 20 Nov 2022 
Time: 
5.30pm to 6.30pm
Fee: 
Festival Pass

Football is touted as the most popular sport in the world, king in virtually all of Europe, South America, Africa, the Middle East, Central America, and Asia. We often hear about how football Fans across the world clamour to get a glimpse of their star players on the field and how the sport offers a chance for a global community to come together in celebration of a common passion. On the other hand, there have been increasing reports of hooliganism from football fans, racism on the pitch, corruption in football governing bodies and scandals by football icons. Join two authors, football legend Lilian Thuram and sports reporter Andrew Leci as they discuss the good bad and ugly of the beloved paradox that is football.

This programme is made possible with the support of the Embassy of France.

Fandi Ahmad: The Number 17

Venue: The Arts House, Chamber 
Date: 10 Nov 2022 
Time: 
8pm to 9pm
Fee: 
Festival Pass

GOAL! Running towards the nearest stands while wiping his face with both his palms, Fandi Ahmad is an icon in every Singaporean household. With his trademark headers and leadership on the field, fans were giddy with anticipation whenever he stepped into the floodlights. Join Singapore’s favourite football son as he offers insights into the challenges and motivations that propelled him into Singapore football’s GOAT status.

Fandi will appear via Zoom.

Marylyn Tan: A Bang and a Flash: Literary Experimentations

Venue: ACM, Discovery Room
Date: 20 Nov 2022 
Time: 
11am to 12pm
Fee: 
Festival Pass

How do we warp words, join them together, and bend them to our will? Do they sometimes bite back and cause a literary short-circuit? When trying to take language to its limits in poetry, how have these experimentations yielded unexpected outcomes? We talk to three poets on literary epiphanies, dead ends, coups, and how they know if they've failed or succeeded.

Gong Wanhui: Fiction vs Reality in Novel Writing

Venue: NGS, Roof Top Studio 1
Date: 19 Nov 2022 
Time: 
10.30am to 12.30pm
Fee: 
Festival Pass

What is the tension between balancing reality and fiction when writing a novel? Join Gong Wanhui in this workshop to learn how your personal experiences can inspire your next novel.

Gandhi & I: MTA with Suneel Krishnan

Venue: ACM, Discovery Room
Date: 12 Nov 2022 
Time: 
6pm to 7.30pm
Fee: 
Festival Pass

Get up close with writer Suneel Krishnan in this Meet-The-Author session to learn about his bond with Gandhi, the man and his thought. An awardwinning Tamil fiction writer, Suneel is also the writer of numerous essays and translations based on Gandhi, as well as the editor of the short story collection Gandhiyai Sumapavargal ('Those who bear Gandhi') and founder of the online Tamil blog Gandhi Yindru ('Gandhi Today'). How does one engage with a figure so widely revered around the world while also balancing their appreciation of him through the lens of critique? Hear from Suneel on why Gandhi continues to inspire his life and work to date, and the significance Gandhi holds to the world of today, and beyond.

And Many More Programmes Not To Be Missed

25 Programmes in 25 Libraries

Venue: Various libraries
Date: Various dates

To mark the 25th edition of the SWF, we collaborate with the National Library Board to present 25 programmes in 25 libraries across the island. Come discover talks, workshops, and book club meetings taking place beyond the Festival grounds and in your public library.

We are proud to share the symbiotic relationship between SWF and NLB in nurturing the love of reading and writing for diverse audiences.

Dialect Storytelling for Families

Venue: NGS Singapore Courtyard
Date: 5 Nov 2022
Time: 11.30am to 12pm, 12pm to 12.30pm & 12.30pm to 1pm 
Fee: Free Admission

Venue: library@harbourFront
Date: 12 Nov 2022
Time: 11.30am to 12pm, 12pm to 12.30pm & 12.30pm to 1pm
Fee: Free Admission

In a reprise by past Festival Director Paul Tan, this popular programme from SWF 2013 and 2014 returns to delight audiences once again. Have fun with the fast-disappearing Chinese dialects in Singapore and rediscover the charming nursery rhymes and stories of yore.

Featuring members from The Glowers Drama Group, this session is in Mandarin, English and the dialects of Cantonese, Teochew, Hokkien, Hainanese and Hakka. Handouts of rhymes translated into English will be provided

Festival Opening Debate: This House Believes That The Remake Is Better Than The Original

Venue: Victoria Theatre
Date: 4 Nov 2022
Time: 8.30pm to 10pm 
Fee: Festival Pass

Imma let you finish, but Dune (2021) is the best remake of all time—said no one ever. Are you a firm believer in leaving the classics alone, or a purveyor of having 73541836 Jane Austen adaptations? Eight festival speakers hash it out so that the next time you’re deciding between your purist tendencies and the excitement of a remake, you’ll already know the answer.

A festival O P E N I N G debate plus two co-hos?! Talk about shaking things up!

Gita Raga: A One-Night-Only Concert

Venue: Victoria Theatre
Date: 5 Nov 2022
Time: 8pm to 9pm 
Fee: $25, $35, $45

Featuring established musicians Jatt Ali, Hanafie Warren, and Moliano, as well as vocalists Ryzall Noh and Olynn Saleh, this concert showcases new songs based on poems written by familiar and well-loved figures in the history of Singapore literature. With verses from the father of poetry Masuri SN and Cultural Medallion recipients Mohd Latiff Mohd and Hadijah Rahmat, the programme brings together evergreen songs with the poeticism of yesteryear for an evening that will enthrall and delight

Riches of the Ear: A Celebration of Words and Wonder by Thomas Hitoshi Pruiksma

Venue: The Arts House, Play Den
Date: 
20 Nov 2022
Time: 
11am to 12.30pm
Fee: 
Festival Pass with registration

What magic can happen if we dare to listen to our hearts? In this original performance, the author and teacher Thomas Hitoshi Pruiksma combines poetry, magic, story, and song to explore the art of listening. He draws on the classical Tamil masterpiece on ethics, power, and love, Thiruvalluvar’s Thirukkural, and on other beloved poets in Tamil, Spanish, and English, to explore what Thiruvalluvar calls “riches among riches, the highest of all other riches.”

This performance is followed by a 30-min bilingual Meet-The-Author session with Thomas Hitoshi Pruiksma in English and Tamil. The MTA session is co-presented with the Centre for Singapore Tamil Culture and the National Library Board.

This programme is made possible with the support of the U.S. Embassy Singapore.

Festival Gala: An(other) Language

Venue: The Arts House, Chamber
Date: 20 Nov 2022 
Time: 
3.30pm to 5pm
Fee: 
Festival Pass

As the world comes out of a great upheaval, new forms of otherness have emerged. We look to these poets for a new direction amidst shifting global and social margins. What discourses need to arise to restore a fundamentally fractured society, and can language hold the lyrical “I” together?

This programme is made possible with the support of the U.S. Embassy Singapore

New Issues for a New Generation

Venue: Victoria Theatre
Date: 6 Nov 2022 
Time: 
5pm to 6pm
Fee: 
Festival Pass

How have narratives changed with the youth experience being dramatically different than before? Tucked awkwardly between childhood and adulthood is a new kind of adolescence, living life in high-speed connectivity, endless buzzing notifications and shifting societal norms. In this feel-good conversation, Chloe Gong, Dustin Thao and Jessica Bellamy ruminate on the new issues that coming-of-age stories need to address to authentically reflect the nuances of teenagehood, and how we can nurture a deeper sense of empathy and belonging as our young ones find their footing in this world.

This programme is made possible with the support of the U.S. Embassy Singapore

A Singaporean Canon – Can or Cannot?

Venue: The Arts House, Chamber
Date: 5 Nov 2022 
Time: 
4.30pm to 6pm
Fee: 
Festival Pass

Is there a canon of Singapore literature? The word canon today is a fraught, contested idea especially in debates about who sanctions an "accepted" list of works. Yet the idea of a definitive list of important works that define a society, a region or language community still capture many imaginations. Is a canon a useful way to look at modern Singapore since independence in 1965? Is this an out-of-date concept that deserves to be deconstructed or rejected?

Festival Closing Event:...Only to Arrive at the Same Place Together 

Venue: The Arts House, Chamber
Date: 20 Nov 2022 
Time: 
7pm to 8pm
Fee: 
Festival Pass

A blink of an eye, a brief pause, and now we find ourselves here together. Six poets reflect on the audiovisual installation If We Paused in Mid Thought... with verses that consider the shape of things to come. As the installation reveals its final form after three weeks of collective responses, what does it say about our vision of the future? Now that we’re in the same place together, where do we go from here?

This programme is made possible with the support of the U.S. Embassy Singapore.

Ticketing Details

Festival Pass: $30 | SWF Youth Pass: $15* 

  • Includes access to all SWF programmes and VOD content 
  • Excludes Festival Headliners and Separately Ticketed Programmes

*The SWF Youth Pass allows access to all Festival Pass events with the exception of content advisories. A valid student card must be presented upon collection

Separately Ticketed Programmes: from $10 to $60 

[Concession 20%] Students, Senior Citizens & NSF

SWF offers 20% off to local and international students, NSFs, and seniors aged 55 and above (applicable to purchases of Festival Pass as well as Separately Ticketed Programmes).

ID will be required for on-site verification.

[Discount 20% Off Separately Ticketed Programmes] Festival Pass & Youth Pass Holders 

Promotion: Valid from 13 Oct to 20 Nov 2022.

Festival Pass and SWF Youth Pass holders enjoy 20% off separately ticketed programmes.

Festival Passes, SWF Youth Passes and tickets to other separately ticketed programmes can be purchased via SISTIC. Prices exclude SISTIC’s booking fees.

For all other ticketing details, please refer to the ticketing guide and FAQs on the SWF website.



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This article is prepared by

Leona Quek
Blessed with 3 handsome and loving boys in her life. Two of them call her Mommy, the other calls her Wifey. Every night, she wishes for an early bedtime, but misses her babies as soon as they sleep.

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