well read - The Singapore Writers Festival

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The Singapore Writers Festival returns to the Bras Basah. Bugis district from November 2 to 11 to showcase more than 180 writers across 200 events.


The 15th edition of the Singapore Writers Festival (SWF) has 200 literary offerings featuring 185 writers from Singapore and across the globe, and celebrates works in Singapore’s official languages – English, Malay, Chinese, and Tamil.

The theme for the 2012 edition is ‘Origins’, and festival director Paul Tan explains: “The theme ‘Origins’ harks back to a larger search for meaning – the origins of the word, of our stories, and, of course, our identities. It is an expansive idea that allows us to create programmes such as our spotlight on story-telling, biographies, and historical fiction.”

One highlight is the popular SWF Closing Debate where Singaporean writers take sides in a tongue-in-cheek exchange on the topical motion: Sinking Roots Here is Little More than Shopping and Eating.

Book reviews

Singapore: A Biography
By Mark Ravinder Frost and Yu-Mei Balasingamchow

Over the last seven centuries, Singapore has undergone several changes of identity. In this wide-ranging account, Mark R. Frost and Yu-Mei Balasingamchow present Singapore’s life story as experienced by the people who participated in it. Singapore: A Biography reconnects a modern audience with the Singapore story, offering a fresh insight into what has made Singaporeans and their nation what they are today.
Editions Didier Millet


Singapore Shophouse
By Julian Davison, photography by Luca Invernizzi Tettoni

The Singapore shophouse is a particular building form that is unique to the island. The book examines each individual feature of the shophouse, through various incarnations of decorative style, and its change from rudimentary out-of-China structure to sophisticated dwelling house, and reveals how these heritage buildings continue to be relevant in the era of the skyscraper and shopping mall.
Laurence King


In the Mood for Cheongsam
By Lee Chor Lin and Chung May Khuen

The cheongsam is a one-piece Chinese ladies’ dress that was the epitome of Chinese identity and feminine beauty during the 20th century. Over the years it has risen and fallen in popularity and been revived and re-interpreted. This book goes beyond a study of the garment itself, but places it in context as a symbol of a people and emblem of its times, as well as the role it played in Singapore’s social scene.
Editions Didier Millet


Singapore Sketchbook
Illustrations by Graham Byfield, text by Gretchen Liu

Singapore is a thriving, modern city with a mixture of modernity and a rich heritage, often beautifully restored, giving it a unique character. A stroll through almost any part of the island will take you past enchanting restored shophouses and a variety of busy religious, civic, and commercial structures. The book is a celebration of architectural details, and classic scenes recorded in sketches produced specially for this new edition.
Archipelago Press


Singapore at Random
by Douglas Amrine

An illustrated collection of Singapore trivia, packed with  statistics, quotations, facts, diagrams, recipes, advice, folklore and other unusual and often useful tidbits. This treasure trove of information on Singapore is arranged, as the title suggests, randomly, so that readers will come to expect the unexpected on each page. Peppered with attractive illustrations, the book is an irresistible celebration of everything you didn’t know you wanted to know about Singapore.
Editions Didier Millet


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