Island of Dreams – My SWF Experience

BY STEFITH

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People who know me would know that I am a massive nerd.

Basically, I get over-excited about the strangest things, like the release of The Amazing Book Is Not On Fire, doing DIY projects, and the Singapore Writers Festival (SWF).

I managed to score passes from work (when there are only two people in the office who obsess over books and similar things, there is no competition for the passes- major shout out to my kindred workplace bookworm, Pinky), and unfortunately I was only able to attend two panels from the entire festival, as well as only buy 2 books, because I fell sick towards the latter half of the festival and missed out on a lot.

The books I did manage to get :D

The books I did manage to get 😀 I’ll probably do a review of them at some point

It’s okay, I can still get my books online.

While I couldn’t get as much out of the experience as I wanted to, I still learnt a lot from the panels I did attend.

I think the most powerful panel I attended was ‘Raising The Profile Of Asian Literature’, featuring Linh Dinh, Eun Heekyung, Laksmi Pamuntjak and Koh Jee Leong. It was moderated by Mr Desmond Kon, who was my creative writing lecturer back in school, and who I credit as my inspiration for getting back into writing creatively.

The panel discussed some really powerful issues, and it opened my eyes. Issues such as ignorance and bigotry, as well as what is ‘proper English’ and whether Asian writers who write in English are seen differently.

As Ms Eun Heekyung said, she would like to be seen not as a Korean writer or a woman writer, but as a writer. Ms Laksmi Pamuntjak shared how she faces oppression both from within and without her country, as an Indonesian writer who uses English as a medium, and how she actually faced protests against her work in her home country.

The authors also shared their experiences of how going overseas was a radical change for them, and how being a minority, especially in the West, affected their writing and their experiences.

It was very thought provoking, and I thoroughly enjoyed the session.

Like I said, I didn’t really get an opportunity to go for many of the events because I was busy with work, and when I wasn’t busy, I was sick, but it’s alright.

The events I did go for were enriching, and I just think it’s great that such a festival happens in Singapore and provides a platform for writers of all sorts to come together and dialogue and discuss.

It’s also very inspiring for someone like me, who has harboured dreams of being a published author since I was very small. Here’s to chasing that dream and fulfilling it, and maybe one day, attending a panel at SWF not as an attendee, but as a panelist.

Cheers 😀

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