Asia Pacific Writers & Translators (APWT) formerly Asia-Pacific Writing Partnership' | APWT builds, promotes and helps sustain the careers of authors and literary translators in the Asia Pacific region.

Program Singapore 2014


Singapore resident registration HERE. International registrations are now closed. If you have any registration problems, contact

Conference venue: The Arts House, 1 Old Parliament Lane (see map).

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Thursday, 17 July, 2014



08:30 Box Office Registration at The Arts House box office.
09:00 Chamber Welcome and Introduction.
09:15  Chamber Opening Keynote: 'Bridging/Misrepresenting Cultures in Writing & Translation' by Suchen Christine Lim. Introduced by Dipika Mukherjee.
09:50 Chamber ROUNDTABLE ‘What is Literature For? What makes a work literature, and who gets to decide?' Featuring the three conference keynote speakers: Suchen Christine Lim,  Linda Jaivin and Merlinda Bobis. Moderated by Asia Literary Review Editor-in-Chief Martin Alexander.
11:00 Blue Rm Coffee break.
11.30 Living Rm... ROUNDTABLE. Poetry:  Art and Soul of It – This is a free-wheeling conversation about what poetry is and isn’t, led by Alfian bin Sa’at, Agnes Lam, Mani Rao, Menka Shivdasani, and Isabela Banzon. Moderated by Jennifer Crawford.
11:30 Chamber ROUNDTABLE. Twisting the Truth: Truth in Fiction, Lies in Non-Fiction. An exploration of story-telling as art and why we tell stories, with David Carlin, Shreekumar Varma, Lisa Walker, and Liz Porter. Moderated by Jose Dalisay.
12:45 Blue Rm Lunch.
2:00   WORKSHOPS (4 hours) with Martin Alexander (COUNCIL ROOM) and Tim Tomlinson (Play Den). Details HERE.
2:00 Living Rm.. ROUNDTABLE. Gender Politics: Forcing the IssueVictor Marsh, Felix Cheong, Jhoanna Cruz and Alfian Sa’at speak about issues that brought them out as writers. Moderator Shelley Kenigsberg.
2:00 Chamber ROUNDTABLE. The Art of Forgetting. Fiction can take us away from our ‘real’ lives into different ways of seeing the world. Novelists talk about their work, featuring Kathryn Koromilas, Dipika Mukherjee, Kulpreet Yadav and Angelo Loukakis, in conversation with Maria Carmen Sarimiento.
2:45 Living Rm......... Conversation on Writing Today from Pakistan with Farheen Chaudhry and Qaisra Shahraz. Moderated by Mridula Nath Chakraborty.
2:45 Chamber Indonesian Literature Today, with John H. McGlynn , Okky Madasari  and Iwan Sulistiawan. Moderated by Michael Vatikiotis.
3:30 Blue Rm Afternoon Tea.
4:00 Earshot Café  NEW WORK #1- Book Launches. Help celebrate the launch of five new books.  Menka Shivdasani launches an anthology of women's writing from India; Eu Yoke Lin will launch her first book of poetry; John McGlynn launches a translation of a classical Malay tale “Krakatau: The Tale of Lampung Submerged”; Victor Marsh launches his memoir; and Okky MadasariDetails here. Session emcee Renee Thorpe.... with a special performance by renowned Kuchipudi dancer Shantha Ratii to a poem by Menka Shivdasani.

6:15- 8:30

Chamber Welcome party. The official welcome party begins in the Council Chamber with speeches and performances, followed by a buffet dinner in the Blue Room and Living Room. (Dress - smart casual.)

Friday, 18 July

 Conference venue: The Arts House, 1 Old Parliament Lane (see map).
09:00.. WORKSHOPS (4 hours) with Tony Birch   (Council Rm) and Nury Vittachi(Play Den). Details HERE.
09:00 Chamber.. KEYNOTE: 'Border Lover in Uncertain Times: Story-Making Across Cultures, Languages, and Literary Forms' by Merlinda Bobis. Introduced by Dr Francesca Rendle-Short.
09:45 Living Rm Roundtable - Curious and Curiouser – A discussion about curiosity with literature in translation from other countries. Andrea Berrini looks at why his book, telling an Italian story, has been published and distributed in the South East, and will be in China and India. And why Asian authors are translated and published in Europe and the West, and of course Australia? What recent cultural links have been established between words once divided by a "developed / underdeveloped” distinction, and are now so similar, sharing same issues and concerns and the same need for stories? Which stories? Others invited to take part in this discussion include publishers and literary agents, among them Martin Alexander, Fong Hoe Fang, and Sally Breen. With contributing moderator Sarah Tooth.
09:45 Chamber Roundtable - What Women in Asia Write About Now, with Menka Shivdasani, Farheen Chaudhry, Qaisra Shahraz and Phina So. Moderated by Judith Buchrich.
10:30 Blue Rm Morning coffee.
11:00 Living Rm. Art of Remembering. This broad conversation about writing memoir will be kicked off by Sally Breen, Christine Williams, Tony Birch, Jessie Cole and Victor Marsh in conversation with Francesca Rendle-Short.
11:00 Chamber Changes to the Literary Landscape and New Publishing Opportunities (#1). This session discusses new magazines and other platforms with Zafar Anjum, Simon Clews, Martin Alexander, Kulpreet Yadav, with participating moderator Kelly Falconer (Asia Literary Agency).
12:30 Blue Rm  Lunch.
1:00 Living Rm NEW WORK #2 - Book launches. Help celebrate the launch of books by Linda Jaivin, Lydia Kwa, Kulpreet Yadav and Farheen Chaudhry. Details here. Session MC is Sarah Tooth.
2:00   WORKSHOP (4 hours) with Sally Breen (Council Room). See details HERE
2:00 Chamber Writing Under Political Pressure. ‘Prison Makes Poets of Us All’ wrote Filipino political prisoner Alan Jasmines. Maria Carmen Sarimiento discusses the literary work of some political prisoners in the Philippines. Steven Fernandez writes and performs stories close to real events in traditional highly politicised Islamic communities sensitive to Western liberal ideas. At the age of 19 Jose Dalisay was himself a political prisoner for seven months under Filipino martial law (1973) and wrote his first novel about that experience (1992). Lily Rose Tope explores the effects of laws against public expression on the writings of Singaporean and Malaysian writers. Alfred Birnbaum comments on the censored work of Burmese novelist Nu Nu Yi. While Han Sann talks of writing in Myanmar. Moderated by Michael Vatikiotis.
2:00 Living Rm Conversation on Spirituality in Contemporary Writing from Asia with Victor Marsh, Mani Rao and Helen Burns. Moderator Nury Vittachi.
2:45 Chamber Roundtable: Links and Fragments into Narrative Wholes. What can be done when a novel gets stuck – when the writer just cannot imagine what the next action is?  Tim Tomlinson has suggestions, while prolific author Nury Vittachi adds advice of his own. Merlinda Bobis shares how the body interconnects these links and fragments in her latest novel that took 17 years to write. participating moderator Lisa Walker.
2:45 Living Rm How Translation Transforms both Text and Translator with Alfred Birnbaum, Andrea Berrini, Sun Xuefen, Menka Shivdasani and Linda Jaivin, moderated by Mani Rao. How the translators have been personally transformed by their work; did their politics/perspectives change? Were their translations received and perceived radically differently than the original in its market? And what did it do to the fame and fortune of the text and the author?
3:30 Blue Rm Afternoon tea.
4:00 Chamber  Roundtable: On Teaching Creative Writing in English and the Influence of the Mother Tongue. This discussion is led by professors in institutional creative writing programs, including Dai Fan, Jayanthi Manoj, Isagani Cruz, Hope Sabanpan-Yu and Tony Birch. Moderated byFrancesca Rendle-Short.
4:00 Living Rm Changes to the Literary Landscape and New Publishing Opportunities for writers in Asia (#2). New opportunities and platforms with Angelo Loukakis, Sarah Tooth, Anuj Bahri and Susan Hornbeck, with participating moderator Nury Vittachi.
5:30 Living Room Singapore Outloud #1 - Poetry and short fiction readings with participating moderators Mani Rao and Alfian Sa’at. The readers this evening are Angelo Loukakis, Tony Birch, Vimmi Sadarangani, Isagani Cruz, Zafar Anjum, Sugu Pillay, Mickey Lin, Jayanthi Manoj, Jennifer Crawford, RK Biswas, Susanna Ho and Linda Jaivin.

Saturday 19 July

09:00   WORKSHOP (4 hours) with Francesca Rendle-Short (COUNCIL ROOM). See details.  
Chamber KEYNOTE: Found in Translation - In Praise of a Plural World by Linda Jaivin. Introduced by Angelo Loukakis.
09:30 Chamber Roundtable - Translation Thrills and Spills. Translators speak about their translation process and challenges, and share hilarious moments from their experience translating authors and poets who are too close, too far, and even omnipresent. Linda Jaivin, Kyoko Yoshida, and Vimmi Sadarangini, with participating moderator Mani Rao.
9:30 Living Rm Readings by Neville Sarony, Verena Tay, Kathryn Koromilas, Helen Burns, Lisa Walker, Jessie Cole, Renee Thorpe, Dai Fan, Bronwyn Duke, Steven Fernandez, Romi Grossberg and Shreekumar Varma. Moderated by Martin Alexander.
10.45 Blue Rm Morning coffee.
11:00 Chamber. Language and Politics: New Dynamics. Has the role of English shifted significantly in a postcolonial scenario? A dominant group can seize, assimilate, domesticate … is it any different when translating from English to vernacular languages? When so-called local, native or indigenous texts present culturally specific contexts, how can they be translated into more ‘universal’ contexts without misrepresentation? What goes into making non-English texts, “world literature”? If translation has now been exposed as colonial discourse, has it changed in a postcolonial context? Andrea Berrini, Antonette Talaue, Dipika Mukherjee and Shelly Bryant, with participating moderator Mridula Chakraborty.
11:00 Living Rm. Writing for Children with Heidi Emily Eusebio-Abad, Judy Horacek (illustrator), Anna Felicia C. Sanchez, and Gerardo Los Baños. Moderated by Nury Vittachi.
12:30 Blue Rm Lunch.

  1. Griffith REVIEW/Asia Literary Review joint issue (in conjunction with AP Writers) to feature the best young writers in the region, with GR publisher Susan Hornbeck, ALR Editor-in-Chief Martin Alexander, introduced by Jane Camens.
  2. World Readers Award. Nury Vittachi puts this in context against Changes to the Literary Landscape. 
2:00 Chamber ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING of AP Writers. All members of AP Writers welcome. Appointment of a new Director and a new Translation Chair, account by the Executive Director of current finances, and other matters aimed at improving and expanding opportunities for members. Includes an overview of AP Writers' 2015 Conference in the Philippines (by Jose Dalisay and others who will host this gathering), and plans for future conferences in Jakarta (Indonesia), Guangzhou (China), Chiang Mai (Thailand) and a possible return to Singapore in alternate years.
3:00 Blue Rm Afternoon Tea.
3:30 Living Rm NEW WORK #3- Book Launches.Help celebrate the launch of new work by Bhavna Khemlani, Bob D'Costa, Glen Phillips, Shelly Bryant and Agnes Lam. Details here. Session MC is Joshua Ip.
3:30 Chamber CRIME DOES PAY: Crime writing remains the number one genre around the world. But as Asian culture rises, how will Asian suspense writing differ from that in the West? Ovidia Yu,  Nury Vittachi, and Liz Porter with moderator Neville Sarony.
4:00  Main entrance Literary Walk. Cost $15 (limited to 12 participants).  Meander through the fiction, non-fiction and fantasy of Singapore with award-winning writer Rosemary Lim. Register HERE.
5:00 Living Room Singapore Outloud #2. Readings by Aaron Lee Soon Yong, Francesca Rendle-Short, Shelly Bryant, David Carlin, Vanessa Deza Hangad, Sarah Salmon, Kyoko Yoshida, Jhoanna Cruz, Jennifer MacKenzie, and Maria Carmen Sarmiento. With participating moderators Joshua Ip and Sally Breen
 7:00-late!   21   Chestnut  Crescent Of Latitudes and Longitudes. All invited to join a fundraiser evening of music, art and the spoken word at the home of a Singaporean poets. Organised by Marc Nair of LIT UP. $5 entry. More information to be provided. Share transport to this party, at your own expense. Not an official conference event.





Conference venue: The Arts House, 1 Old Parliament Lane (see map).

2:00 PM, LIVING ROOM - THE AUTHOR SHOWCASE. International and Singaporean writers and poets read brief excerpts from their work. A great way to get a sense of the work of some excellent writers. Readers include Suchen Christine Lim, Aaron Lee Soon Yong, Agnes Lam, Joshua Ip, Qaisra Shahraz, Tony Birch, Linda Jaivin, Glen Phillips, Merlinda Bobis,  Lisa Walker, Alfian Sa’at, Menka Shivdasani and Marc Nair. Moderated by Marc Nair.

2:00 PM in the PLAY DEN (Children’s session). STORY PLANET with Nury VittachiIs your child creative? Does your child make up stories, songs or games? Does he or she love Harry Potter or The Hunger Games or Divergent? In this session for young people, they can enjoy stories in an interactive presentation, and also get a chance to exercise their own creativity.

2:30 PM in the SCREENING ROOM. THE ELUSIVE SERPENT.  Snakes and dragons in have shown up in literatures around Asia, Australia and Europe. In this fascinating visual presentation, Glen Phillips will introduce you to snakes and dragons in Australian stories, comparing the works of Aboriginal and non-indigenous Australian writers. He will link the traditions of the snake or dragon in other cultures (the Welsh Red Dragon, the English St George and the Dragon, the Chinese legend of the White Snake) with the Wagyl or rainbow serpent in local Aboriginal culture and my own experience in childhood with the dugite snake, among others.

4:00 - 6:00 pm  Closing Session at Viet Lang restaurant @ The Arts House.  Open Mic, moderated by Nury VittachiFood & beverage available at your own expense. (If you want to be part of the line up for the open mic, write to

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Useful Singapore Visitor Information (Pre paid Sim cards, maps, things to see & do)