Singapore Writer’s Festival 2011

Re-writing boundaries

By Laila Humairah and Prabhu Silvam

At the Singapore Writers Festival this year, the introduction of new highlights such as the SWF Lecture series and the Festival pass allowed book and writing enthusiasts to get up close with their favourite authors.

In one panel discussion (Stickey Wickets and Red Cards: Challenge of Sports Writing), Sports writers Rahul Battacharya and Neil Humphreys shared their sentiments and experiences about their love for sports, and writing. At the crux of the discussion was the increasing deterioration of appreciation for sports literacy. The rise of blogspheres on the net has made sports writing seem simple and unimportant. The obsession of being first to report on sports news drives this perception of sports writing. Instead, what goes into sports writing is beyond just reporting facts and statistics. The essence of sports literacy captures the character and the emotional and physical triumphs of both individual athletes and team sports. Sports writing is an important aspect of human interest news. It is one of the simplest ways to connect with a large body of audience when done right. Eventually, quality in writing prevails, but respect for sports literacy from sports enthusiasts and the print industry would ultimately help in raising the reputation of sports journalism.

In another panel discussion (Getting Lost: The Sly Art of Travel Writing), Rahul Battacharya returned with travel writers Tan Wee Cheng and Brian Thacker, to a full house attendance to share interesting escapades and weird wonders of the world. The key to writing good travel pieces is to pen these experiences from the heart. It only takes an adventurous soul armed with a pen and notebook to reveal the unique traits of a place other people often overlook. All three writers agreed on the use of all five senses as particularly useful when trying to bring out the essence of a place or country. Interaction with natives of the country and experiencing their daily lives could lead to profound stories.

The SWF 2011 also introduced new books to the masses through a series of book launches. Local writer O Thiam Chin launched his fourth story collection, The Rest Of Your Life And Everything That Comes With It, at this year’s SWF. The book is a compilation of 12 short stories about little moments in people’s lives. These moments may seem insignificant to others but can sometimes be a life-changing event for the individual. These stories, set in a Singaporean context, allow readers to look beyond the simplicity of everyday Singaporean life and think about underlying issues in society. O Thiam Chin’s other works include Free-Falling Man (2006), Never Been Better (2009), and Under The Sun (2010).

Photo Credits : Singapore Writer’s Festival 2011 Photo Gallery