Monday, September 05, 2005

Dream Ink at The Singapore Writer's Festival

A combination of circumstances conspiring against me (deadlines, the reading) and the kind of inertia that makes me angry with myself (particularly as I'm reading myself perfect in the loo every morning. Canfield in the can, haha!) meant that I did not manage to get down to the Singapore Writers Festival.

Fortunately, thanks to Zafar I was able to attend the sessions vicariously at least. Bruce Sterling, the well-known American science fiction writer, gave his take on Writing Sci Fi and painted a bleak picture of the world of the future.
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Another session focused on crime writing, more specifically Women and Crime. Among questions raised:
Why is there so much of crime writing in the West? And why is there so little of crime writing in the East?

I find Nuri Vittachi's comment about writing in this part of the world in general very interesting:
Vittachi said that it was not just about the crime writers published internationally from the East but in general about writers in English from the East. He said that the simple reason was that there was no machinery to promote writers from this region: no literary agents, no publishers, no editors. But there was hope, he said. Two literary agents are now setting up office in Asia: one in China and another in Hong Kong.

Great to know!

There was a panel discussion Sexuality and Desire in Asian Writing consisting of writers Gerrie Lim (Invisible Trade), Wei Hui (Shanghai Baby; Marrying Buddha), and Isa Kamari (Kiswah). I'd have loved to have seen Wei Hui especially, having enjoyed her Shanghai Baby.

Then there was Tarun Tejpal, "India's ace journalist, editor, publisher" talking about his novel: The Alchemy of Desire.
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and Colleen Doran
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talking about graphic novels which are becoming increasingly popular in Singapore, and probably in Malaysia too. (Booksnobs like me haven't taken them seriously - after reading Zafar's entry I think I should begin to!)

Anyway, do go read the whole thing on Zafar's blog - this is very good stuff and the next best thing to being there yourself. I applaud the festival organisers for catering to a very wide variety of literary tastes. I think our own Litfest got a bit too snobby-elistist with almost no concession made to genre fiction. A narrow view indeed of what literature is.)

(By the way, did you know that one of Mills and Boon's top romance novelists lives in Cheras and is a HE writing under a female pseudonym?! Buy me a long-island iced tea for the rest of the story.)

Meanwhile, check out the Singapore Writers' Festival Blog for more stories and photos of other sessions. I'm jealous!!

DZ sent me this link to the excellent Kitaab website with plenty of Asian literary news.


Anonymous said...

Omigod! I'm a Cherasian too! Who is he/she? Wow, finally someone to lift the status of Cheras up in at least the world of romance!

bibliobibuli said...

Yes, indeed, romance lives and breathes in Cheras. Let that thought inspire you for your own writing attempts!

Lydia Teh said...


You've got to tell! Who is this Cheras guy? I could've read him in my younger days without knowing it. He could be my former classmate who used to write romance stories, even had one printed in our yearbook. Pleassee..

Unknown said...

Hi, thanks for mentioning my blog in connection with the Singapore Writers Festival. I wish I could write about some more events.

Hey, I had sent you a link to a few days ago (sent you a mail also) but it seems you never saw it.

bibliobibuli said...

Yes, sorry Zafar - I should have taken a look at the Kitaab website earlier - and you were the first to tell me about it. Love reading about the sessions - am just angry with muself for not making it there ...

Edmund Yeo said...

Yup. You need to pay graphic novels more attention. After all, they are novels too, just with, er, graphics.

savante said...

A romance writer in Cheras! How cool is that! I have got to be a fan!

And graphic novels are great. I read quite a bundle of them too.


Chuang Shyue Chou said...

I was at the talk Bruce Sterling, Norman Spinrad and Robert Sawyer gave and an earlier one given by Sterling. Well, I have written some entries earlier in my blog. They are just short commentaries. My observations of the events.

Something from the local papers yesterday:

A short search for books:

The talk given:

The first talk on industrial design:

Yes, I have read a few volumes of Sterling in the late eighties and one in the nineties. I have also read Spinrad in the eighties and one recently. Finally, I read Sawyer about four or five years back. Thus, I am somewhat acquainted with their work. I am inclined to read Sterling again. If you should want to read Sterling, I would recommend 'Islands in the Net'.

I noted that you have Dawkins on your blog. I have read 'River out of Eden' some years back. Recently, I have been reading 'The Blind Watchmaker' on and off. Excellent books.

Finally, a timely article from Dawkins on the Guardian.,13026,1559743,00.html

bibliobibuli said...

Thanks very much for the links and will enjoy dropping by your blog.