The Singapore Writers Festival, one of Asia's premier literary events, started in 1986 as a biennial festival. Now organised by Arts House Limited, SWF is a much anticipated event on the cultural calendar, presenting the world's major literary talents to Singaporeans while shining a spotlight on home grown and Southeast Asian creative talents.

Over the years, the Festival has become an exciting meeting point of writers, academics and thinkers in a choice spread of panel discussions, workshops, lectures and performances over 10 days. It has hosted literati the likes of two-time Booker Prize winner Margaret Atwood, Whitbread First Novel Award winner Zadie Smith, British poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy, Nebula winner Neil Gaiman and Lambda Literary Award winner Roxane Gay.

The Singapore Writers Festival is one of the few multi-lingual literary festivals in the world, celebrating the written and spoken word in Singapore's official languages – English, Malay, Chinese and Tamil.

This year's Festival will be held from 17 to 26 November 2023.

SWF 2023 Theme
Plot Twist

Maybe living in strange times means embracing strange approaches. An unexpected outcome, a sudden change in direction, unlikely connections. This year at SWF we’re embracing the unpredictable. What happens when you put things that seemingly don’t have anything in common, together? No spoilers please!

Join us at more than 200 programmes over two Festival weekends. From Festival favourites to unexpected new offerings, there is something for everyone of all ages in this year’s exciting line-up that spans immersive experiences, exhibitions, performances, film screenings, meet-the-author sessions and conversations.

Gain access to up to 150 programmes at SWF 2023 with the purchase of our Festival Pass or SWF Youth Pass.



FESTIVAL PASS & SWF YOUTH PASSES*

Access to all SWF Fest Pass programmes, excluding Individually ticketed events

*The SWF Youth Pass allows access to all Festival Pass events with the exception of content advisories. A valid student card must be presented upon collection.


Festival Director's Message

It has been an absolute privilege to serve as Festival Director since 2019 and as my tenure comes to a close, one of the questions I have been asking myself is what is the role of a literary festival in these current times?

A literary festival cannot be a mere collection of writers who want to talk about their own books and drive sales. Not in these times we find ourselves in. It seems crucial that a literary festival happening in the now, is cognisant of how it functions as a response to the time and place it happens in.

A gathering of some of the most important writers, thinkers and artists we have in a singular space, must allow an opportunity to really sit with deeper questions about who we are and what we can leave behind for a better future with our brief time on this planet. A literary festival should also allow space to experience joy in listening to and learning from each other.

This year we set ourselves a challenge to see how far and wide we could fling the reach and relevance of a literary festival. The result is this edition of 200 programmes that questions issues in areas ranging from historical fiction to hip hop and everything in between. How are memoirs relevant in the age of constant documentation on TikTok? How are combat sports a form of storytelling? Why do we love the music we love? Who are we leaving behind in our quest for a better world? These are just some of the many questions (both big and small) we set out to ask.

We’re not expecting clean answers, linear narratives or neat resolutions. We’re hoping that your time at the festival allows you to see the world in new ways, find unexpected connections between things you thought could never sit side by side. We’re hoping you delight in the mess and come out unrecognisable on the other side. See you or whoever you become at the festival.

Pooja Nansi
Festival Director


About Arts House Limited

Arts House Limited (AHL) is a not-for-profit organisation committed to enriching lives through the arts.

AHL manages six arts spaces that aim to support our arts sector and bring communities together. These include two national monuments - The Arts House, multidisciplinary arts centre, and Victoria Theatre & Victoria Concert Hall, a heritage building that is home to the Singapore Symphony Orchestra.

It also runs the performing arts space Drama Centre as well as three enclaves for arts groups and creative businesses - the Goodman Arts Centre, Aliwal Arts Centre and Stamford Arts Centre. It is the cultural place manager of Singapore's Civic District.

AHL organises two national pinnacle festivals – the Singapore International Festival of Arts focused on the performing arts, and the Singapore Writers Festival - a multi-lingual festival presenting the world's leading literary talents. In addition, it manages Our Cultural Medallion Story – the showcase on Singapore's Cultural Medallion recipients at The Arts House.

Arts House Limited is a public company limited by guarantee under the National Arts Council. First set up as The Old Parliament House Limited in 2002, it was renamed Arts House Limited in 2014. For more information, visit https://artshouselimited.sg/