Poet Pooja Nansi to helm Singapore Writers Festival 2019

Ms Pooja Nansi is best known for her poetry collection, Love Is An Empty Barstool.
Ms Pooja Nansi is best known for her poetry collection, Love Is An Empty Barstool.PHOTO: COURTESY OF POOJA NANSI

SINGAPORE - Poet Pooja Nansi will helm the Singapore Writers Festival (SWF) next year, taking over from current festival director Yeow Kai Chai, the National Arts Council (NAC) said in a press statement on Tuesday (Oct 30). 

A recipient of the Young Artist Award in 2016 and Singapore's first Youth Poet Ambassador, Ms Nansi is best known for her poetry collection, Love Is An Empty Barstool.

She said: "It's a privilege to have the opportunity to set a direction for a beloved festival like SWF. I am looking forward to building on the extensive work done by my predecessors to continue making the festival vibrant, relevant and accessible for everyone."

Ms Nansi will be participating in this year's festival as the moderator of Str8 Up: Word On The Street, a performance mash-up of hip-hop and spoken word.

Mr Paul Tan, NAC's deputy chief executive, said the festival had "truly come into its own" under Mr Yeow's stewardship over the last four years and attracted record numbers with bold programming and a diverse slate of events, which included lively debates and writers' appearances in schools.

Last year's edition of the Singapore Writers Festival set a new record for attendance, drawing almost 25,500 festival-goers, up 25 per cent from the previous year.

Mr Yeow, who retains his position as director of projects at the NAC, said his four years at the helm had been fruitful as he worked with his team "to try to get people to appreciate the value of words and literature across different platforms and genres".

He added that Ms Nansi is in a good position to lead the festival. "With her understanding of the Singapore literary scene and beyond, as well as her varied interest across art forms and disciplines, I'm sure she will bring her inimitable verve and chutzpah to the Festival."