It’s #Lit was a hit and we loved every bit! Our School of Humanities and Behavioural Sciences (SHBS) held its biennial Language in Singapore forum called It’s #Lit: Millennials Writing in Singapore. The forum zoomed in on writing and publishing in English, Malay, and Chinese, as well as translation and interpretation. Multiple languages, one big question: what does it take to be #lit in Singapore?
Here are some highlights!
SUSS President, Professor Cheong Hee Kiat, welcomed the event attendees with a witty speech peppered with millennial-speak.
Guest-of-honour, Gwee Li Sui, who is a poet, literary critic, and graphic artist, set the tone with a great opening address. Check out his full address here.
Author Nuraliah Norasid, whose debut English novel The Gatekeeper won the Epigram Books Fiction Prize in 2016, shared her writing process and mythmaking for a digital audience. She does a lot of research to ensure that her writing is grounded in reality even as she creates a fictional world.
(Photo: Ludwig Tan)
Publisher Noridah Kamari runs Malay publishing outfit Unggun Creative. Noridah brought the rapt audience through a sample of Unggun’s works, from surreal short stories set in HDB estates to Malay haiku and illustrated children’s books, and talked about how the publishing industry has to cater to digital-savvy youth.
During the tea break, fans of Gwee Li Sui got his autograph and posed with Merly, the Language Forum mascot.
Our Merly even inspired local cartoonist Jashorn Lee to do his version of a reading Merlion!
Epigram Books, Ethos Books, and Taylor & Francis set up book stalls and gave good discounts!
After the break, webnovel translator and editor Daniel Loke talked about translators’ revenue streams, the need for speed, and even the importance of being able to translate sound effects in wuxia novels. Daniel is currently pursuing his second bachelor’s degree at SUSS with a specialisation in Translation and Interpretation.
Writer Tan Kah Wai wowed the audience with his knowledge of traditional Chinese literature, which he said was important for even young Singaporean writers to value. He also noted how the local scene has influenced him as a millennial writer.
The panel discussion, led by Khoo Sim Eng, our Head of Film Studies, was very lively and sparked a candid conversation about the possibilities open to local writers and readers. The audience gamely jumped in and had many questions.
The forum was open to students, alumni, and members of the public. There were also a number of writers and poets in the audience, including Anne Lee Tzu Pheng, Yeow Kai Chai, Paul Tan, and Heng Siok Tian. Pictured above is Ann Ang, author of the very funny volume of short stories Bang My Car, asking a question.
(from left) A/P Ludwig Tan, Dean of the School of Humanities and Behavioural Sciences (SHBS); Ms Noridah Kamari; Nuraliah Norasid; Professor Cheong Hee Kiat, President, SUSS; Dr Gwee Li Sui; Professor Tsui Kai Chong, Provost, SUSS; Tan Kah Wai; Daniel Loke; A/P Soe Marlar Lwin, Head of Programme, MA in Applied Linguistics / Co-chair of Language Forum; Dr Melissa Chia, Head of Programme, English / Co-chair of Language Forum.