Literary highlights at Lianhe Zaobao festival

Well-known authors from Singapore and the region will give talks and showcase their works

The inaugural Lianhe Zaobao Literary Festival, organised by the Chinese flagship newspaper of Singapore Press Holdings (SPH), officially opened over the weekend.

Organised in conjunction with Lianhe Zaobao's 95th anniversary this year, the six-day festival includes lectures by well-known authors from mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Malaysia and Singapore. Writers from the region are also showcasing their works at the festival.

The event, held at the Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre, started last Saturday and ends on Thursday.

Upcoming highlights include a talk by prominent translator Lin Shaohua from China, during which he will share his experience of translating Japanese writer Haruki Murakami's works, and a lecture by Hong Kong academic Stephen Chu Yiu Wai on the rise and fall of Cantopop.

Also participating in the festival are Malaysian writers Chen Lin Loong and Leong Ching Foon, who will talk about the Malaysian Chinese literary scene, and local authors Yeng Pway Ngon, Xie Qing and Soon Ai Ling, who will touch on Chinese literature in Singapore in the 1970s and 1980s.

At the official opening of the festival yesterday, Lianhe Zaobao also launched a book titled Literary Phenomena 2017. It is a compilation of literary works which were published in the Chinese broadsheet.

Minister for Education Ong Ye Kung was the guest of honour. He said in Mandarin: "This festival shows that literature remains very much alive in modern life and illustrates the concerted efforts by various groups to promote the Chinese language.

"When we have mastered a language, we will be able to better appreciate and understand literature and culture, and pursue the deeper and finer things in life."

On the festival's significance, Ms Lee Huay Leng, head of SPH's Chinese media group, says it shows how Singapore can play a role on the world's Chinese literary stage.

Upcoming highlights include a talk by prominent translator Lin Shaohua from China, during which he will share his experience of translating Japanese writer Haruki Murakami's works, and a lecture by Hong Kong academic Stephen Chu Yiu Wai on the rise and fall of Cantopop.

"We hope to continue to support and promote Chinese literature and writers from the region and from Singapore. We have good writers in Singapore, so this is a platform for them to showcase their work."

Housewife Chen Xiao Tong, 50, attended a few talks over the weekend, including one yesterday by novelist Ge Fei from China, who won the 2015 Mao Dun Literature Prize for his Jiangnan Trilogy.

She is interested to hear more about Chinese literature because she finds joy in reading.

"Today, a lot of us use our mobile phones for everything. But I still like writing and reading the papers and books. I read the news on my phone as well, but I feel that information makes more of an impression and I comprehend things better when I read actual books and print."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 28, 2018, with the headline 'Literary highlights at Lianhe Zaobao festival'. Print Edition | Subscribe