From Haresh Sharma to Amanda Lee Koe, these are the five Singaporean writers that should be on your radar at the 22nd edition of the literary festival

1. Haresh Sharma

Apart from being the resident playwright of homegrown theatre company The Necessary Stage since 1990, Haresh Sharma is also the nation's Cultural Medallion winner in 2015, and recipient of the Southeast Asian Writers Award in 2014. 

The veteran playwright is responsible for a slate of plays that have been much loved by the country, including Lanterns, written in 2003, and Off Centre, which made its debut in 1993 and was recently restaged for the second time earlier on this year. 

Catch him at two events at this year's festival: A panel discussion on November 3 named The Price We Pay that explores the differing viewpoints about keeping communities intact in the face of development; the Festival Epilogue on November 10, as he uses his works as a reference point to examine the complexities behind the use of language in a multilingual society. 

(Related: Renowned Playwright Stella Kon Tells The Story Of Her Great-Grandfather Lim Boon Keng In New Musical)

2. Amanda Lee Koe

It's no surprise that Singapore-American novelist Amanda Lee Koe should be on your radar at this year's Singapore Writers Festival. As the youngest person to ever win the Singapore Literature Prize for English Fiction in 2014, she has continued to shine in the literary community with her new novel, Delayed Rays of a Star, which was published earlier this July. Since then, it has already gone on to be the most anticipated novel by publications such as Elle, The Los Angeles Times, USA Today, Thrillist, to name a few. 

This year, you will be able to find her at three events: The SWF Book Club: Amanda Lee Koe, where she will share about books that changed the way she perceives and portrays language on November 2; a panel discussion on the use of metaphors across genres at Metaphor, Making and Meaning later on in the day; and a meet-the-author session titled An Hour With: Amanda Lee Koe on November 3. 

(Related: Prominent Arts Figure William Phuan on Interculturalism and Asean Unity Through Literature)

3. Nor

Known for her photography and spoken word performances, multi-disciplinary artist Nor is one to look out for at this year's Singapore Writers Festival. For the uninitiated, her works are typically rooted in self-portraiture which often delves deeper into themes of gender, sexuality, and identity. 

Festival-goers will be able to find her at three events: A panel discussion on When Language Helps and Hurts on November 9, an Epic Spoken Word Night later in the evening at The Arts House, as well as a lecture-performance on Annotating Identities on November 1. 

4. Ovidia Yu

Ovidia Yu is yet another familiar name in the literary scene. The bestselling crime fiction novelist in Singapore constantly references uniquely Singaporean quirks—including our indefatigable love for food—in her characters. Her latest novel, The Paper Bark Tree Mystery, which is the final instalment of her detective series, has since received rave reviews internationally. 

Spot her at these two events at this year's festival: A panel discussion on crime fiction alongside Carol Lewis and Alice Clark-Platts at It Was a Dark and Stormy Night on November 2, and the Festival Debate on November 6, discussing the notion that men are ruining feminism. 

5. Cyril Wong

Homegrown poet, fictionist and literary critic Cyril Wong was Singapore's first confessional poet to be featured in Time magazine and The Oxford Companion to Modern Poetry. Apart from that, he is also the Singapore Literature Prize award-winning author of twelve poetry collections, with works published in the Atlanta Review and Asia Literary Review

Catch Cyril at these four upcoming events, as part of this year's festival: A Bigger Party than Expected on November 1, where he will be performing a rearrangement of songs from the 1980s in response to Rex Shelley's work; A panel discussion on November 2 named The Struggle Is Real, that discusses the various intersections of speech, belief, and ideology; a second panel on November 8 named The Language of Loneliness, that discusses how loneliness aids writers in their creative work; and Tell it Slant: Cyril Wong and Danez Smith, a reading and intimate dialogue session where both poets will touch on how they have used language to reclaim identity and experience to speak their truths.

The Singapore Writers Festival 2019 takes place from November 1 till 10 

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