Flotsam & Jetsam No. 37: The 2014 APWT Conference Tentative Program


Bridging Cultures: Creative Writing and Literary Translation in Asia Today

17-20 July 2014 

The Art House, 1 Old Parliament Lane, Singapore

Program (Draft@24 April)* 

*Sessions or times are likely to change, so check back before the event.

Our ‘roundtables’ are so-called to encourage audience participation in conversations started by the featured authors.

Speaker biographies can be found here: http://apwriters.org/singapore-2014-conference/biographies-whos-speaking-and-youll-meet-at-bridging-cultures/

Thursday 17 July

08:30     Blue Room           Sign in, collect conference badge and handout.

Tea/coffee, courtesy of the Arts House and NBDC

09:00     CHAMBER           Welcome and Introduction.

09:15    CHAMBER            Opening Keynote (TITLE TBA) by Suchen Christine Lim.

09:50    CHAMBER            ROUNDTABLE. ‘What is Literature For? featuring the conference keynotes: Suchen Christine Lim with Linda Jaivin and Merlinda Bobis. Moderator TBC.

11.00     Blue Room           Refreshments, courtesy of the Arts House and NBDC

11:30     LIVING ROOM   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, Martin Alexander, Mani Rao, Menka Shivdasani, and Joshua Ip. 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, Lisa Walker (TBC), Michael Vatikiotis and Philip McLaren (TBC) – Moderated by Jose Dalisay.

12:45    Blue Room           Lunch, courtesy of the Arts House and NBDC.

2:00      WORKSHOPS (4 hours) with Martin Alexander (COUNCIL ROOM) and Tim Tomlinson (Green Room). SEE DETAILS. http://apwriters.org/singapore-2014-conference/creative-writing-and-editing-workshops/

2:00        LIVING ROOM   ROUNDTABLE. The Art of Remembering. This broad conversation about writing memoir will be kicked off by Sally Breen, Tony Birch), Jessie Cole (TBC), and Victor Marsh in conversation with Francesca Rendle-Short.

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 (TBC) and Angelo Loukakis, in conversation with Maria Carmen Sarmiento. 

2:45        LIVING ROOM   Conversation on Writing Today from Pakistan with Iram Shafique and Farheen Chaudhry and Qaisra Shahraz.

2:45        CHAMBER           Changes to the Literary Landscape in Indonesia. A panel discussion led by John H. McGlynn with others (TBC) includingIwan Sulistiawan who will talk about changes ‘From Discrimination to Multiculturalism: Indonesian Chinese in Indonesian Novels’. Moderated by Michael Vatikiotis.

3:30     Blue Room       Refreshment, courtesy of the Arts House and NBDC

3:45    LITERARY WALK (TBC), organized by the Arts House. Meander through the fiction, non-fiction and fantasy of Singapore with award-winning writer Rosemary Lim (TBC). You will follow in the footsteps of Joseph Conrad and Somerset Maugham, explore locations that inspired Rex Shelley and Edwin Thumboo. Discover Singapore as muse to novelists, playwrights and poets as you travel in time from colonial days to the present day through words and imagination.

4:00       Earshot Café     NEW WORK- 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 that draws on his experiences as a disoriented Australian who is initiated by a young guru; and Mani Rao will launch a Singapore edition of echolocation (Math Paper Press). Details will be available on a separate link.

6:30      Blue Room        Welcome Cocktails (TBC) – courtesy of the Arts House and NBDC

EARSHOT CAFÉ (?)     Singapore Outloud (TBC). Poetry and short fiction readings with participating moderators Martin Alexander and Alfian Sa’at.

Friday 18 July

09:00     WORKSHOPS (4 hours) with Tony Birch (COUNCIL ROOM) and Nury Vittachi (Green Room). http://apwriters.org/singapore-2014-conference/creative-writing-and-editing-workshops/

09:00    CHAMBER            KEYNOTE: ‘Border Lover in Uncertain Times: Story-Making Across Cultures, Languages, and Literary Forms’ by Merlinda Bobis

09:45     CHAMBER           RoundtableWhat Women in Asia Write About Now, with Merlinda Bobis, Menka Shivdasani (TBC),Mridula Chakraborty, Farheen Chaudhry, and Qaisra Shahraz. Moderated by Judith Buchrich

09:45     LIVING ROOM Roundtable – TBA

10.15     Blue Room           Refreshments, courtesy of the Arts House and NBDC

10:45    LIVING ROOM   Gender Politics: Forcing the Issue– Victor Marsh, Jhoanna Cruz and Alfian Sa’at speak about issues that brought them out as writers. Moderator TBC.

10:45     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 and others TBC, with participating moderator Kelly Falconer (Asia Literary Agency).

12:30    Blue Room           Lunch, courtesy of the Arts House and NBDC

1:00        LIVING ROOM   Book launches. Help celebrate the launch of books by Lydia Kwa, Bhavna Khemlani, Bob D’Costa and Farheen Chaudhry. Details will be available on a separate link.

2:00    Workshops (4 hours) with Sally Breen (COUNCIL ROOM) and Merlinda Bobis (Green Room). See http://apwriters.org/singapore-2014-conference/creative-writing-and-editing-workshops/

2:00     CHAMBER      Writing Under Political Pressure. ‘Prison Makes Poets of Us All,’ wrote Filipino political prisoner Alan Jazmines. Maria Carmen Sarmiento discusses the literary work of some political prisoners in the Philippines. At the age of 18 Jose Dalisay was himself a political prisoner for seven months under Filipino martial law (1973) and wrote his first novel about that experience (1992). He now writes nonfiction history of that period. Others on this panel include Alfred Birnbaum who translated the censored work of Burmese novelist Nu Nu Yi. Moderated by Michael Vatikiotis.

2:00        LIVING ROOM   How Translation Transforms both Text and Translator with Alfred Birnbaum, Andrea Berrini, Sun Xuefen (TBC) and Linda Jaivin, moderated by Mani Rao.

2:45        CHAMBER           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. Cristina Hidalgo who has authored more than 30 books will also offer a few tips. Moderator TBC. 

2:45        LIVING ROOM     IN CONVERSATION. Shirley Lee, translator of North Korean poet Jang Jin Sung’s recently published disturbing memoir Dear Leader, in conversation about the book, its success and the issues associated with its translation, in conversation with her with her agent Marysia Juszxakiewicz of Peony Literary Agency. TBC

3:30        Blue Room           Refreshments, courtesy of the Arts House and NBDC

4: 00       CHAMBER           Roundtable. On Teaching Creative Writing in English and the Influence of the Mother Tongue. Join this discussion withDai Fan who teaches one of the few English language creative writing courses in China, Jayanthi Manoj who teaches in Trichy, India, Filipino teacehers Hope Sabanpan-Yu and Christine Godinez-Ortega (TBC), and Indigenous Australian author and professor Tony Birch. Moderated by Francesca Rendle-Short.

4:00     LIVING ROOM

5:30        EARSHOT CAFÉ                 Singapore Outloud #2 – Poetry and short fiction readings with participating moderators Joseph Ip and Mani Rao.

Saturday 19 July

09:00     Workshop (4 hours) with Francesca Rendle-Short (COUNCIL ROOM). See details. http://apwriters.org/singapore-2014-conference/creative-writing-and-editing-workshops/

09:00        CHAMBER        KEYNOTE: Found in Translation – In Praise of a Plural Worldby Linda Jaivin.

09:45     CHAMBER           RoundtableTranslation 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 JaivinKyoko Yoshida, Andrea Lingenfelter and Menka Shivdasani with participating moderator Mani Rao.

09:45   LIVING ROOM   CONVERSATION “ASIAN SAVVY”. Changes to the Literary Landscape and New Publishing Opportunities (#2). Join in this lively conversation led by Nury Vittachi who contends that ‘Asia’ is poised to lead the literary world.

10.15     Blue Room           Refreshments, courtesy of the Arts House and NBDC

10:45     CHAMBER           How Translation Transforms both Text and Translator with Alfred Birnbaum, Andrea Berrini, Sun Xuefen (TBC) and Linda Jaivin, moderated by Mani Rao.

10:45     LIVING ROOM   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? Mridula Chakraborty, Antonette Talaue, Shafique Iram, Dipika Mukherjee(TBC) and/or Shirley Young-Eun Lee (TBC), moderated by Shelly Bryant.

12:30    Blue Room           Lunch, courtesy of the Arts House and NBDC


1)      Re: Joint issue of Griffith REVIEW/ASIA LITERARY REVIEW publishers Susan Hornbeck (GR) and Martin Alexander (ALR), introduced by Jane Camens.

2)      Re: World Readers Award by Nury Vittachi.

3)      Overview of 2015 Meeting in the Philippines with Jose Dalisay (and the Filipino organizers).

1:00        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 finances, and other matters aimed at improving and expanding AP Writers.

3:00        Blue Room           Refreshments, courtesy of the Arts House and NBDC

3:30 pm Literary Walk #2 TBC organized by the Arts House.

5:00        EARSHOT CAFÉ     Singapore Outloud #3 Readings, with participating moderators Bernice Chauly (TBC) and Sally Breen.

Sunday 20 July FREE PUBLIC DAY

 Full Public Program to come.

10:00   WORKSHOP Bring Out Your Best at POETRY SLAM with Marc Nair, organized by Word Forward. For poets intending to participate in our closing poetry slam. (Registered conference participants can perform in the Slam without attending this workshop.) Details to be provided soon.

From 10 AM, all day

  • Author conversations with Singapore and visiting authors before a public audience.
  • Readings with a Singapore audience.
  • Children’s session (2 pm) with Nury Vittachi. Other possible authors for this children’s session Bhavna Khemlani? Cris Barbra Pe? Angelo Loukakis? Others?

POETRY SLAM, organized by Word Forward.

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