Germany Focus


Pluralism and diversity cutting across geographical lines and ways of life have become significant attributes of German literature. Together with our partner Goethe-Institut Singapore, we are proud to present artists and writers whose works span disciplines, languages and subjects, and who are informed by multi-culturalism in their personal histories and social environments. Discover the various worlds (界) that these writers inhabit and their concerns at the intersections of humanity and technology, ranging from ethics to gender to migration. How do these worlds connect with the world that you reside in?

Aisha Franz

Fatimah Moumouni

Julia Franck

Julia Langhof

Miriam Meckel

Rike Scheffler

Senthuran Varatharajah

Thomas Zandegiacomo Del Bel

Yoko Tawada

Kafka’s Room: metamorphosisVR

Kafka’s Room: metamorphosisVR                                          

Time: 2 Nov | 5pm – 10pm
Time: 3, 4, 6, 10 Nov  | 12.30pm – 9.30pm
Time: 5, 7, 9 Nov | 6.30pm – 9.30pm
Time: 11 Nov | 12.30pm – 7pm
Venue: The Arts House, First Floor

“One morning, when Gregor Samsa woke from troubled dreams, he found himself transformed in his bed into a horrible vermin.” Thus begins the strange world of Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis, one of 20th century’s most famous novellas. You can now experience a Kafkaesque metamorphosis without having to go through an unsettling night. Goethe-Institut Singapore presents a Kafka-inspired virtual reality space called metamorphosisVR at the SWF. A collaboration of Goethe-Institut with film director Mika Johnson and producer Shahid Gulamali, metamorphosisVR invites one visitor at a time to experience Kafka’s surreal reality.

Each visitor needs about five minutes, please allow for waiting times and plan a little more time for your visit.

READING: Germany's New Wave: A Night of Celebration

Featuring: Fatima Moumouni, Julia Franck, Senthuran Varatharajah,
Thomas Zandegiacomo Del Bel, Yoko Tawada,
Amanda Lee Koe, Deborah Emmanuel, Desmond Kon
Time: Fri, 2 Nov | 8pm – 9.30pm 

Venue: The Arts House, Chamber | Festival Pass


Admired for centuries as a leading light of philosophy, literature, music and the arts, Germany has produced greats such as Thomas Mann, Hermann Hesse and Günter Grass. In this special night, witness a motley bunch of 21st-century German writers who will join other Singaporean writers in celebrating the artistic legacy of the country.

FILM SCREENING: Verse That Moves

Featuring: Thomas Zandegiacomo Del Bel

Time: Sat, 3 Nov | 11am – 12.30pm

Venue:  The Arts House, Screening Room | Festival Pass


Founded in 2012 in Berlin, the ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival is the biggest international forum of short movies which deal with the content, aesthetics or form of poems. Artistic director Thomas Zandegiacomo Del Bel will curate a selection of some of the forum’s most exciting award-winning works for this special screening. It is followed by a Q&A where he will illuminate why he has chosen film as a medium for poetry.

PANEL: Not all Migrants are the Same

Featuring: Senthuran Varatharajah, Minh Bui Jones, Nina McConigley

Time: Sat, 3 Nov | 11am – 12.30pm 

Venue: The Arts House, Chamber | Festival Pass


As a child, Senthuran Varatharajah fled with his family from Sri Lanka to Germany in the 1980s. Minh Bui Jones escaped from Vietnam to Australia as a boat refugee in 1978. Nina McConigley was born in Singapore and moved to Wyoming when she was 10 months old in the 1970s. As countries around the world grapple with social unrest and the influx of migrants, the latter have been unfairly profiled. These three writers advocate for diverse representation.

PANEL: The One Thing That Keeps Me Awake…

Featuring:  Wang Gungwu, Julia Franck, Evgenii Vodolazkin

Time: Sat, 3 Nov | 1pm – 2pm 

Venue: National Gallery Singapore, Ngee Ann Kongsi Auditorium | Festival Pass

Each speaker on this illustrious panel will identify one world issue or phenomenon today which has kept them awake at night. Julia Franck, whose fiction explores a divided Germany during the Cold War; Evgenii Vodolazkin, best known for Laurus, an award-winning novel set in 15th century Russia; and historian Wang Gungwu, renowned for his research on overseas Chinese, will glean lessons from the past for future generations.

PANEL: Stepping Outside One's Comfort Zone

Featuring: Cherry Chan, Marc Nair, Thomas Zandegiacomo Del Bel
Time: Sat, 3 Nov | 3pm – 4pm
Venue: The Arts House, Play Den | Festival Pass


Purists may disagree, but as the arts and technologies converge, arts practitioners have leveraged on the accessibility of tools and software to create new, exciting works. Thomas Zandegiacomo Del Bel, artistic director of ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival; Cherry Chan co-founder of multi-media collective Syndicate; and Marc Nair, creator of poetry/photography exhibition titled ‘Slide & Tongue’, will talk about their inspirations and processes.

PANEL: Aliens and Outsiders

Featuring: Aisha Franz, Boey Kim Cheng, Yoko Tawada

Time: Sat, 3 Nov | 5pm – 6.30pm 

Venue: Asian Civilisations Museum, Ngee Ann Auditorium | Festival Pass

From being an alien in a human society, to navigating a familiar yet foreign environment, the perspective of an outsider is simultaneously strange and relatable. Whether it’s emotional alienation or physical isolation, the writer needs to communicate the sense of oneself being cut off from mainstream society. In this panel, authors discuss the perspectives of outsiders and how they influence their works.

FILM SCREENING + DIALOGUE: LOMO – The Language Of Many Others (NC16)

Featuring: Julia Langhof

Time: Sat, 3 Nov | 7pm – 9.30pm 
Venue: | National Gallery Singapore, Ngee Ann Kongsi Auditorium| $10

Karl runs a blog on the Internet, where he collects and compiles photographs and videos. After Doro, a girl he fell in love with, loses interest, Karl realises: nothing is true, everything is random. Disillusioned, he starts playing a dangerous game, where his blog followers take increasingly more control of his life. There will be a post-show talk with director Julia Langhof, who also co-wrote the screenplay.

PANEL Voicing the Voiceless

Featuring: Teo You Yenn, Fatima Moumouni, Subhas Nair
Time: Sun, 4 Nov | 2pm – 3pm 
Venue: National Gallery Singapore, Ngee Ann Kongsi Auditorium | Festival Pass


Each of these three speakers has chosen a distinct medium to articulate their concerns. Academic Teo You Yenn’s bestseller, This is What Inequality Looks Like, takes on a complex topic – inequality in contemporary Singapore – and makes it relatable. German spoken-word artist Fatima Moumouni uses slam poetry to confront racism and gender discrimination, while Singaporean musician Subhas Nair employs rap to tackle issues afflicting those from minority and low-income backgrounds. Join them as they explain their platforms and artistic decisions they make in communicating their messages.

PANEL Sounds/Music/Words: Three Experts Explain

Featuring:  Rike Scheffler, weish
Time: Fri, 9 Nov | 7pm – 8pm
Venue: The Arts House, Blue Room | Festival Pass

Working at the intersections of language, music and performance across media and art forms, these artists use their tools, manipulating the human voice, as well as harnessing analogue and digital instruments, to create new and exciting works. These three artists share their artistic visions and exchange ideas – and who knows, they may perform a piece or two.


PANEL For Better or Worse: The World in 2068

Featuring: Jeff Goodell, Miriam Meckel, Sarah Churchwell, Shamini Flint
Time: Sat, 10 Nov | 4.30pm – 6pm
Venue: The Arts House, Chamber | Festival Pass

The pace of change has risen exponentially in the past century, on the back of historical events such as the two world wars and inventions such as the world wide web and antibiotics. The panel surveys human society today, and speculates on what the world would be like half a century later.