In its widest manifestation, the character refers to the world at large, the universe which we all live in. Across its continuum of meanings, it also alludes to endless worlds, ranging from an imagined dominion of one’s mind to geographical and man-made boundaries which separate nations and peoples. In this sense, it reflects the current world order, with all the attendant tensions, transgressions and opportunities as communities trek across lands and cross waters, either as worldly citizens, refugees or migrants who seek better lives elsewhere. The Singapore Writers Festival revels in the realm of imagination and beseeches writers, thinkers and audiences to look inward and outward, and explore multiple possibilities of reading, writing and living.


The Singapore Writers Festival started in 1986 as a biennial festival. Now held yearly, the festival 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 in 10 days. It has hosted literati the likes of Nobel Prize winner Gao Xingjian, Whitbread Book Awards First Novel winner Tash Aw, British poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy, Nebula winner Neil Gaiman and Pulitzer Prize winner Michael Cunningham.

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, the Festival will be housed in the Civic District amongst historic buildings such as The Arts House, The National Gallery and the Asian Civilisations Museum.

A city where writing empowers and transforms lives.

The mission of the festival is to not only present the world’s major literary talents to the people of Singapore, but also to promote new and emerging Singapore and Asian writing to a wider public.

The National Arts Council (NAC) was set up as a statutory board in September 1991 to spearhead the development of the arts in Singapore.

Anchored on the twin strategies of excellence and engagement in the arts, the Council aims to build a vibrant arts sector by creating a conducive environment where the arts is accessible to all and artistic talents have the necessary resources and capabilities to excel and achieve sustainability in the long term.

To develop artistic talents in the performing, visual, literary and traditional arts, the Council provides total support through grants, training, arts housing subsidies, commissioning of works and overseas presentations. It adopts a holistic approach to develop the entire value chain, from seedling arts start-ups, nurturing and developing artists, arts groups and arts businesses, to internationalization. NAC also organizes major festivals, events and competitions to showcase local and international talents, as well as to identify new talents. Arts awards are given to artists in recognition of artistic excellence and to patrons for arts sponsorship.

The Festival Team


The Singapore Writers Festival team is dedicated to bringing together a vibrant and diverse festival each year. We aim to provide writers and audiences with the platform to share ideas, perspectives and a celebration of the literary.

Left to Right (Back row): Carolyn Chiam, Amanda Yee, Joan Tan, May Tan, Michele Thompson, Christie Cheng, Caroline Wan, Yeow Kai Chai
(Front row): Kavitha Karuum, Muhamed Leoaidil, Averyl Rodrigues, Tan Puay Shian, Shauna Oh, Sarah Adam

Not forgetting the rest of our team (not pictured): Christine Leong, Letitia Tan, Annabel Lee, Lim Si Qi, Nurulhuda Izyan Bte Mohamad Hafiz and Laura Goh

SWF 2016 Highlights

WGR 2017 Highlights

SWF's Five Festival Tracks

Listen to the SWF Theme Song