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Monday, 3 December 2007

Expressions from noted authors at the Singapore Writers' Festival you may not read about elsewhere!

"At least now, people return my phone calls and emails."
"I started reading seriously when I was 5. My parents kept buying me picture books. I said, 'enough', I want those kind of books. I pointed to a particular kind. My father was shocked and came back lamenting. But there are only words, no pictures. And I said,'right!' However, it got very bad in class because as a 6 and 7 year old, when the teacher was giving lessons, I pretended to listen but was secretly hiding my storybook under the textbook." - Tan Twan Eng, whose novel, The Gift of Rain was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2007.

"The thing is today, at this launch, my friends are here but where is my speech? What happened to my speech? And where is my handbag?" - SuChen Christine Lim.
On realising at the mike that her speech was missing and recited to high amusement from the crowd, by SuChen Christine Lim, one of Singapore's best-loved and prominent authors as she launched The Lies That Build A Marriage, a slim paperback of collected stories that amongst other issues, explores a mother's pain on discovering her son is gay. Published by Monsoon Books Singapore, it was originally meant to be a 20-minute story, requested by traditional church pastors as a Christmas Day read. According to SuChen, they had confidently asked to be surprised beforehand.
"They said, no need to show us the content, just surprise us....so I did!"

"When I saw the roads of Singapore and I thought, how come we suddenly have forests and trees...foliage of all kinds and I thought, I've travelled a lot and seen nothing like it. All these forests and trees. And they're man-made. And I thought, not a bad city. Singapore can even make its own trees and forests now. All man-made. I love Singapore. - Dr. Goh Poh Seng, Singapore's literary pioneer playwright, novelist and poet and Cultural Medallion recipient for literature in 1982; on his return to the island for the festival, after 20 years away. Malaysian born Dr. Goh practised medicine in Singapore for 25 years and lives in Vancouver with his family.

"The only way I could finish writing my book was to go to the supermarket and buy tons of food beforehand and then my fridge was stocked up so I didn't have to go out and I never did during that time. All I did was eat and write and eat and write." - Madeline Thien, a Malaysian writer living in Vancouver, Canada on her debut novel, Certaintity, which won the 2001 Kiriyama Prize for the Asia Pacific rim. Certaintity was also described as Best Book of the Year, by The Globe and The Mail which are Canadian newspapers.

"People ask me, 'how come, I don't look Singaporean...'
It may sound like we have a revolving generation in Singapore at the moment. Parents stay and children leave. Or children stay and parents leave. Yet I couldn't be more Singaporean than I already am with my children, taking care to mark the generations that formed my roots here." - Philip Jeyaratnam, President of Singapore's Law Society and celebrated writer of the novel & short story. One of his finest works is said to be Abraham's Promise. Here are some of his reviews for Amazon.com
"My most vivid memory of emigration and assimilation was when I was a 12-year old boy and I saw blonde women for the first time. My eyes became very big like saucers and they stopped blinking. Imagine, the hair was like shining sparkling gold. And then I saw the bare arms. And then I saw the tiny mini skirts. And I went ooh...ahh...ohhh..ahh... And that I was all I could think about for a long long time." - Eli Amir, expert in Jewish and Arabic literature and author of several novels. Currently, considered one of Israel's finest.

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