Man Booker Prize-winner Marlon James and Korean-American novelist Min Jin Lee are among the literary stars headlining this year’s Singapore Writers Festival.
Advance festival passes went on sale on Aug 5 for the annual festival, the 22nd edition of which will run from Nov 1-10.
Organised by the National Arts Council (NAC), it is helmed by Singaporean poet Pooja Nansi in her debut as festival director.
Jamaican author James won the Booker in 2015 for his novel A Brief History Of Seven Killings and earlier this year published Black Leopard, Red Wolf, the first in his epic fantasy trilogy Dark Star, to acclaim.
Lee’s 2017 novel Pachinko, an epic history of a Korean family that emigrates to Japan, was a finalist for the National Book Award for fiction.
The festival will also be reaching out to youth aged 13 to 18 years old through the inaugural SWF Youth Fringe, which will feature topics such as young adult fiction, K-pop and memes.
It is headlined by the likes of Jamaican-American author Nicola Yoon, whose bestselling novels The Sun Is Also A Star and Everything, Everything have been adapted into movies, as well as British editor, author and screenwriter Nikesh Shukla and Malaysian novelist Hanna Alkaf.
Hanna’s acclaimed book The Weight Of Our Sky, released in February this year, offers a gripping fictionalised account of the 1969 race riots in Malaysia.
The Youth Fringe will be jointly organised with the Singapore Book Council and curated by a panel of students from schools such as Temasek Junior College and Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts.
This year’s festival theme is A Language Of Our Own. According to a statement from the NAC, it will “explore the role of language in the expression of identities and formation of communities in the 21st century”.
A series of mini-lectures, The Words We Love, about the everyday vernacular of Singaporeans, will discuss Singlish, while other events that showcase Singapore’s diversity of languages include Perang Spontan, a performance that combines the Malay music form of dikir barat with a rap battle, and the return of a live translation session across different languages, titled Translation Circle:Live! – The Straits Times/Asia News Network