In its 19th edition, the Singapore Writers Festival returns with the universal theme of "Sayang". It's the first time the folks are employing a non-English language theme, opting for Singapore's national language instead. Its meaning is two-fold: While it's a term of endearment to mean love, it's also often used as an expression to note a melancholic loss.
You'll see such themes come to life in Jennifer Anne Champion's work, The Room of Our Forgetting. As part of Cache, the festival's collaboration with the Esplanade Theatres, the performance poet will present a cross-disciplinary act with shoegaze and dream-pop local band Enec.e (whom we last saw at the Singapore Night Festival). If you're keen on taking a poetic and musical trip down memory lane, Champion's work is set to tug at your heartstrings. And before we set our sights on the author's upcoming book Caterwaul, (her second collection for Math Paper Press), take a leaf out of her recommendations below.
Make Something Up by Chuck Palahniuk
"I recommend it to anyone who likes messed up short stories."
Dreadful by Victoria Lim
"Victoria Lim is a great contemporary poet. She was a finalist for the Golden Point Award and her collection of spoken word poetry is called Dreadful. It sums up her sense of humour, and mine."
Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut
"It's a funny novel and it starts with the epigraph: Nothing in this book is true. Live by the harmless untruths that make you brave and kind and healthy and happy. Vonnegut doesn't pretend that life is sh*t, but he gives you something to keep going. Good literature should do that."
The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury
"Ray Bradbury's The Illustrated Man makes me fall in love with writing again every time I want to give up. It's a fantastic collection of well-crafted short stories, but it doesn't show off or make you feel bad or stupid. It's just good story-telling."
Malay Sketches by Alfian Sa'at
"I love Malay Sketches. It should be on every Singaporean's reading list. I wanted to say Alfian Sa'at because we have a similar racial heritage but frankly my connections to the Malay community are limited. His work gives me access and insight to a culture that, although is my birthright, I wish I was more familiar with and reading him (in English) lets me participate, if briefly."
Jennifer Anne Champion will be performing at Cache on 12 November at the Esplanade Recital Studio. Singapore Writers Festival runs from 4 to 13 November. Book now till 30 September for a 20% early bird discount from Sistic and Peatix.
To see what other creatives are reading, click here.