Bon voyage, fellow bibliomanics

Annual literary festival Read! Fest sets sail with the theme of Voyage for its next edition, inspired by this year's bicentennial celebrations. Following in the footsteps of prior years, the event comprises over a hundred programmes, exploring subjects that revolve around the Singlit past, present and plausible future narratives, as well as a retelling of the Singapore story.

Your voyage begins with an opening week that features a line-up of activities for the literary fanatic, kicking off the month-long festival with a literary-inspired creative bazaar, live music, film screenings and more. As opposed to the rest of the month, the introductory week is exclusive to the National Library Building Plaza, which will be bedecked with a retro-futuristic landscape.

130 programmes strong; there will be something for every bookworm. Comic book fans will appreciate local comic artist Koh Hong Teng’s spotlight feature in Place Memories in Comics: Spotlight on Comic Artist Koh Hong Teng that happens Jul 6. The panel discusses Koh’s major collaborative works and his upcoming book with playwright Marc Goldberg.

Taking notes from the theme, Travel Woke: Creative Epiphanies from a Plane is a talk that uncovers the truth about the worn out term, “wanderlust”. Between The Desire of Elsewhere author Agnes Chew and travelling F&B enthusiast/head mixologist of Native Bar Leon Tan, will be sharing riveting travel anecdotes during this session.

Keynote lectures hosted by various prominent authors will take place throughout the festival, including a session by award-winning local poet and editor Alvin Pang, whose writing has been featured in the Oxford Companion to Modern Poetry in English, and the Penguin Book of the Prose Poem. In Confluences: Connecting Singapore and the World, Pang will reflect on two decades of work in trying to connect the Singaporean with the international and the challenges that come with it.

This year’s edition also taps into the community spaces of heartland districts as the annual Big Book Giveaway returns for a free-for-all spread at Plaza Singapura (Jul 27) and Central Plaza at Our Tampines Hub (Jun 29). Or, participate in a charity book donation drive that sees the donation of a book to selected beneficiaries for every 10 people reading for 15 minutes at Read For Books.

Not to be forgotten, the inaugural National Reading Challenge begins Jul 1 to reinforce the habit of reading over a 10-week duration. The challenge entails borrowing 20 books and eBooks in the time frame for a chance to win a pair of Singapore Airlines tickets to Brisbane, among other attractive prizes.


Read! Fest 2019 runs from Jun 22-Jul 28 at various locations. More info and full programme listing here.