Wednesday September 6, 2017
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One of the programmes featured during last year’s Singapore Writers Festival — Between the Lines: Rant and Rave II — which explored the evolution and development of Singapore’s literary scene. — TODAY picOne of the programmes featured during last year’s Singapore Writers Festival — Between the Lines: Rant and Rave II — which explored the evolution and development of Singapore’s literary scene. — TODAY picSINGAPORE, Sept 6 — On trend with its increasing popularity among youths, science fiction and fantasy will take centre stage at this year’s Singapore Writers Festival (SWF).

Returning for its 20th edition, the SWF will have a slew of programmes exploring speculative fiction, which covers science fiction, fantasy, horror and supernatural fiction, through panel discussions, lectures and an open mic night.

SWF festival director Yeow Kai Chai said: “Speculative fiction as a genre is not new. All the way from Asian fantasy to science fiction and superheroes, it’s pervasive. All the movies with superheroes are based on stories, novels and comics.

“(If you) have seen what young people write these days — it’s all sci-fi and speculative fiction. Sci-fi is the way to go if you want to reach out to young people.”

Local writer Daryl Qilin Yam, 26, who wrote Kappa Quartet, said: “(Speculative fiction) is an increasingly complex creature constantly adapting to our increasingly complex world, and I hope both writers and festival attendees will be able to take heart in the wide, open future of the genre,” Yam added.

Organised by the National Arts Council (NAC), the annual literary festival will be held from November 3 to 12 and will feature more than 300 authors, including 65 international names and 240 Singapore-based writers, with more than 290 programmes this year.

The theme for this year’s festival is Aram, a Tamil word that means “goodness” or “doing good”.

In this milestone edition of the SWF, there will also be some star-power names such as Jay Asher, the American author most famous for his bestselling young-adult novel Thirteen Reasons Why. The book has since been adapted as a hit Netflix series, which has garnered attention for its controversial look at teenage suicide.

Another big name at the festival this year is Dominican-American Pulitzer Prize-winning author Junot Diaz, best known for his book The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.

Diaz will be speaking on November 11 at Victoria Theatre about how preoccupation with the world’s fate, such as climate change and terrorism, has become the default focus of the 21st century.

On Diaz’s participation this year, Yeow said: “He is even more relevant now in this age of culture wars. The idea of the immigrant has become such a polemical issue, and he himself has achieved success against all odds (and become) one of the top writers.

“He can (share) from his own experience. From that point of view, Junot Diaz is always someone we wanted to reach out to and this year we got him.

“The festival aims to engender a sense of curiosity about the world we live in now, and how each of us can strive to make a better place for all.” — TODAY

*SWF Tickets are available till Sept 30 through Sistic.

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