There’s more to it than nodding thoughtfully at panel discussions.

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[Sponsored] The Singapore Writers Festival (SWF) is back, guys, not only with dozens of Singaporean and international writers—but also musicians, theater practitioners, animators, filmmakers and lots of other folks. So if you thought it was all about readings and panel discussions, think again. Here are five other things you can do at SWF.

Watch films, including animated ones

There are at least two fun events for movie buffs at SWF. First is this year’s edition of Utter (Oct 30, 8:30pm, The Arts House, US Embassy Screening Room). The poetry and prose of Singaporean literary biggies like Alfian Sa’at and Amanda Lee Koe will be adapted into short films by Singaporean animators like Henry and Harry Zhuang and Samantha Seah.

For something more brainy, check out a screening of the film Adaptation (Nov 7, 6pm, The Arts House, US Embassy Screening Room)—remember that delightfully weird Spike Jonze flick starring Paul Giamatti as eccentric screenwriter Charlie Kauffman trying to write a screenplay for The Orchid Thief? Susan Orlean, the  author of The Orchid Thief, will be here, too, for a chat.

                                                                                                                                                                                   Lorong Boys

Catch gigs on the grass

If you need a break, read, rest, decompress and play the piano at take-it-easy@SWF, a social space at Empress Lawn, in front of Victoria Theatre & Concert Hall. The lawn at The Arts House will also host a series of concerts by Singaporean bands during the festival. Highlights include fiddlers Lorong Boys (Oct 30, 7pm), indie pop outfit Take Two (Oct 31, 1:30pm) and funk specialists Wobology (Nov 1, 1:15pm).

Have a sleepover at the night at The Arts House

A big highlight of SWF this year is a whopping 12-hour, overnight show at The Arts House. What I Love About You Is Your Attitude Problem (Nov 7) kicks off at 7pm and will be spread across the various rooms of the beautiful building. Expect a mix of visual arts, poetry, performance and some heavy topics like the complexity of family life and the journey of the self.

The National Gallery

Visit the new National Gallery before everyone else

The much-awaited new national treasure on the Padang is slated to officially open on Nov 24. But if you have a SWF pass, you can check it out over three weeks earlier. Sign up for The Future of Work (Oct 31, 11:30am), a talk about the impact of technology on office life; The Ultimate Singapore Dish (Oct 31, 2:30pm), where  foodies debate which local dish is the best; or Eye/Feel/Write: Experiments in Ekphrasis I or II (Nov 1 or 7, 11am), for a guided literary tour of the gallery and its art pieces. Prior registration for Eye/Feel/Write required.

Attend a debate with attitude

The closing debate at SWF has been a time-honored tradition since 2007. This year, the topic is “This House Believes that Singaporeans are Not Dreamers” (Nov 8, 7pm, The Arts House, Chamber). Singaporean literati and pop culture celebrities like Gwee Li Sui, Oniatta Effendi, Joshua Ip and Hirzi Zulkiflie argue about whether or not Singaporeans have soul, daring and imagination. 

The Singapore Writers Festival runs Oct 30-Nov 8. For more information and tickets, visit the website.

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