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Event Dates:
5 - 14 November 2021
Singapore Writers Festival

Thank you for joining us at SWF 2020! SWF 2021 returns 5 - 14 Nov 2021. More details will be announced soon!

The Singapore Writers Festival, one of Asia’s premier literary events, started in 1986 as a biennial festival. Now organised yearly by Arts House Limited, SWF is a much anticipated event on the cultural calendar, presenting the world’s major literary talents to Singaporeans while shining a spotlight on home grown and Southeast Asian creative talents. Over the years, the Festival has become an exciting meeting point of writers, academics and thinkers in a choice spread of panel discussions, workshops, lectures and performances over 10 days. It has hosted literati the likes of two-time Booker Prize winner Margaret Atwood, Whitbread First Novel Award winner Zadie Smith, British poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy, Nebula winner Neil Gaiman and Lambda Literary Award winner Roxane Gay.

The Singapore Writers Festival is one of the few multi-lingual literary festivals in the world, celebrating the written and spoken word in Singapore’s official languages – English, Malay, Chinese and Tamil.

SWF Year Round Programmes 2020

FAQ

When is SWF 2021?

5 - 14 November

Archives

2019: A Language of Our Own

2019: A Language of Our Own

The 2019 Singapore Writers Festival's theme A Language of Our Own invites you to join us in considering all the ways in which the verbal, physical and visual languages we use every day affect how we see the world. Language heals and language hurts. Language can tie down and language can transform. In a world that is so simultaneously connected and fractured, who has language left behind? What has language taught us about the past and how must language evolve to accommodate a changing humanity?

2018: 界 / jiè

2018: 界 / jiè

In its widest manifestation, the character refers to the world at large, the universe which we all live in. Across its continuum of meanings, it also alludes to endless worlds, ranging from an imagined dominion of one’s mind to geographical and man-made boundaries which separate nations and peoples. In this sense, it reflects the current world order, with all the attendant tensions, transgressions and opportunities as communities trek across lands and cross waters, either as worldly citizens, refugees or migrants who seek better lives elsewhere. The Singapore Writers Festival revels in the realm of imagination and beseeches writers, thinkers and audiences to look inward and outward, and explore multiple possibilities of reading, writing and living.

2017: Aram

2017: Aram

What are the meanings of being “good”? Aram, a Tamil word, zeroes in on the universal ethical concept. A term with rich connotations, it exhorts us to ask tough questions regarding conscience, virtue, and societal values. It envisions an ideal which humanity can aspire to -- in thought, words and actions. Aram is mentioned in the ancient Thirukkural (1st-3rd century B.C), widely revered as the most influential work in Tamil. The Singapore Writers Festival investigates this common creed and how it can help one to navigate the trials and tribulations in an increasingly complex world.

2016: Sayang

2016: Sayang

The 2016 Singapore Writers Festival delves into the multi-faceted human condition with the theme, Sayang. A Malay word with multiple layers of meaning, it is used as a term of endearment, expressing effusive love and adoration. At the same time, it can also refer to pity and a bittersweet sense of lost opportunities. Join us at the Festival as we examine life’s riches and ambivalences together.

2015: Island Of Dreams

2015: Island Of Dreams

John Lennon sings: “You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us. And we will live as one.” Likewise, the 2015 Singapore Writers Festival celebrates everyone’s dreams, hopes and aspirations, with the theme, Island of Dreams. So, what is your dream? How does one make one’s dream come true? What do all the dreams add up to? What is the society you want to live in? The Festival poses these questions to writers and audiences, inviting them to look within and reflect

2014: The Prospect of Beauty

2014: The Prospect of Beauty

SWF 2014 celebrates beauty! Think of the pleasure of encountering a well-formed poem, the sense of satisfaction at the end of an immersive novel, all made possible by the subtle, even ingenious, wielding of words by the tenacious writer. This SWF, expect to take a closer look at genres like romance, song writing and the lyrical in literary fiction and poetry; while in non-fiction, we navigate the philosophy of aesthetics, today’s multi-billion dollar beauty culture and the anxieties about the body and attracting a partner. The theme also prompts us to hear both paeans to Mother Nature as well as the critical debate on the very real threats to biodiversity and the environment today.

2013: UTOPIA | DYSTOPIA

2013: UTOPIA | DYSTOPIA

What makes a physical place, country or world, utopia? The triumph of good over evil? A perfect balance between nature and development? A community where individual will is never thwarted?

Lending itself well to genres like science fiction, fantasy, war and graphic novels, SWF 2013’s theme weighs these questions and more. Beyond these popular genres, narratives and tropes in creative writing and non-fiction which resonate with this dichotomy include violence, familial discord, morality and after-life.

The binary embodied in the theme also allows us to look at opposites such as love-hate, innocence-guilt, emotion-rationale, and of course, good-evil, and the dramatic tensions inherent within them.

2012: Origins

2012: Origins

SWF’s 2012 theme returns to the beginning. The beginning of time, of language, of the story, of our identities…

This year’s programming shines the spotlight on story-telling, biographies, and historical fiction and traces the source of creative inspiration - what is at the heart of moving narratives, riveting characters and memorable turns-of-phrase.

At the same time, in a world of mass reproductions, new technologies and endless iterations of old stories, we reflect on what is truly original in the first place.

As humanity hurtles forward, eyes trained on the future, we also look back. We imagine the lives of those before us by drawing on shared and individual histories. Origins allows us to revisit our own identities, the multiple roles we assume and the masks we put on. What is at the innermost selves – our ethnic origins, the faiths we profess or the colour of the identity card we carry?

2011: Transaction

2011: Transaction

The SWF 2011 theme aims to generate discourse among writers and thinkers on how the process of transacting affects our daily lives on a social and intellectual level. Not just about monetary exchanges or the dangers of materialism in society, transactions underscore our daily interactions and conversations we have with family, friends, colleagues and even strangers. On another level, transactions can be broadened to the marketplace of ideas that the Festival hopes will take centre stage this year.

About Us

Arts House Limited (AHL) is a not-for-profit organisation committed to enriching lives through the arts.

Venues

Bridging the arts and audiences by transforming ideas into reality through our distinctive spaces and programmes.

Festivals & Placemaking

Bridging the arts and audiences by transforming ideas into reality through our distinctive spaces and programmes.

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The Arts House has played an active role in the arts and creative scene in Singapore over the past decade, committed to promoting and presenting multidisciplinary arts such as literary, film, visual and performing arts.

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We are constantly looking for talented individuals to join us. If you enjoy working in a fast-paced and dynamic environment, thrive on challenges and are ready to immerse yourself in the arts industry, we are looking forward to hear from you.

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Arts House Limited (AHL) is a not-for-profit organisation committed to enriching lives through the arts.