Last week I had a whirlwind trip to Singapore and back and my head is still spinning. I was there for the Asia-Pacific Writers and Translators (AP Writers) annual conference. This was the first time I have been to one of their conferences, but I don’t think it will be the last. Mixing with such an eclectic and talented group of writers from around the region is highly addictive.
The attached pictures were taken by Tim Tomlinson and show: Myself and Merlinda Bobis on the ‘Links and Fragments’ panel and the readers at the ‘Author Showcase’. Clockwise from top left: Renee Thorpe, Tony Birch, Qaisra Shahraz, Suchen Christine Lim, Menka Shivdasani, Marc Nair, Aaron Lee, Agnes Lam, Myself, Merlinda Bobis and Jane Camens. You can find out more about these writers here.
The AP Writers Executive Director, Jane Camens, invited me to sit on a panel called Twisting the Truth: Truth in Fiction, Lies in Non-Fiction. Also on this panel were Aussies David Carlin and Liz Porter and Indian author Shreekumar Varma.
I also felt privileged to chair a panel called Links and Fragments into Narrative Wholes. What can be done when a novel gets stuck? On this panel were Tim Tomlinson from New York, Nury Vittachi from Hong Kong and Filipino/Australian author Merlinda Bobis. Here are the hot tips: Tim says read around the topic, Nury says set yourself a deadline and Merlinda says dance!
The readings at the conference were a definite highlight. They were so varied, like a meal of delicious morsels. It’s hard to pick favourites, but I did love Merlinda Bobis, putting her tip above into action with her one woman play based on her novel ‘Fishhair Woman’ which I have just read and loved. My friend Jessie Cole also read from her beautiful new book, ‘Deeper Water’ which is released on the 1st of August.
Discovering all these wonderful writers from the Asia-Pacific has been an amazing experience. If you are interested to learn more about AP Writers you can find them here. Their next conference is in Manila in 2015.
A big thank you to Jane Camens for inviting me and to the Australia Council for the Arts for sponsoring my trip.