The Singapore Writers Festival, one of Asia’s premier literary events, started in 1986 as a biennial festival. Now organised yearly by Arts House Limited, SWF is a much anticipated event on the cultural calendar, presenting the world’s major literary talents to Singaporeans while shining a spotlight on home grown and Southeast Asian creative talents. Over the years, the Festival has become an exciting meeting point of writers, academics and thinkers in a choice spread of panel discussions, workshops, lectures and performances over 10 days. It has hosted literati the likes of two-time Booker Prize winner Margaret Atwood, Whitbread First Novel Award winner Zadie Smith, British poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy, Nebula winner Neil Gaiman and Lambda Literary Award winner Roxane Gay.

The Singapore Writers Festival is one of the few multi-lingual literary festivals in the world, celebrating the written and spoken word in Singapore’s official languages – English, Malay, Chinese and Tamil.

This year's festival will be a hybrid format with a mix of in-person and online events. International speakers will join us digitally.

FESTIVAL TEAM

Pooja Nansi
Pooja Nansi
Festival Director
(a.k.a The Bedazzler)

Pooja likes leopard prints and instant noodles. According to her Wikipedia, her creative influences include old Bollywood songs, Kendrick Lamar, Snoop Dogg, Britney Spears, and poets such as Cyril Wong and Leonard Cohen. Fun, fantastic, and fiery, Pooja also has many embarrassing moments, including accidentally sharing her Whatsapp screen in meetings, and calling people by the wrong name.

⊙ Sagittarius ☽ Sagittarius ↑ Sagittarius
Guilty Pleasure Read: YA novels
Guilty Pleasure Song: Baby by Justin Bieber
Pet Peeve: Rambling
Notable Sayings:
“hhheerrrgghhhh!” (according to Leo this is Pooja’s expression of exasperation)
“ok lor!”
“omg beautiful”
“snort”
Tan Puay Shian
Tan Puay Shian
Manager, Fiction, Chinese Lit, SEA Focus
(a.k.a. The Enabler)

Puay Shian is the backbone of the team and is always calm and collected. But actually, she loves to hear people spill all the tea, so she’s a great conversationalist at parties and opening ceremonies. But don’t worry, your secret will be safe with her... we think. Sometimes Annabel can’t hear her because she speaks quite softly, but Puay Shian laughs the loudest on text with her signature all-caps.

⊙ Sagittarius ☽ Gemini ↑ Pisces
Guilty Pleasure Read: Mindless thrillers that are just about the plot
Guilty Pleasure Song: Last Farewell by BIGBANG
Pet Peeve: Hearing people pronounce this as “pad pif”
Notable Sayings:
“that’s what I’ve been saying from the start!”
“so previously we never did that”
“eh ya ya!”
“yeah I was going to say”
Sherry Yeu
Sherry Yeu
Assistant Manager, Children’s Lit
(a.k.a. The Hackergirl)

Sherry’s favourite food is chicken. Unlike Leo and Annabel, Sherry thinks that Chic A Boo, not Arnolds’, is the #1 fried chicken in Singapore. The team knows better than to get on Sherry’s bad side. She probably knows all of your secrets by the time you’re reading this. Scared? Don’t worry, just distract her with some fried chicken.

⊙ Scorpio ☽ Virgo ↑ Taurus
Guilty Pleasure Read: Compromised by Kate Noble
Guilty Pleasure Song: Intoxicated by The Cab
Pet Peeve: Group of people walking in a row like snail and blocking the whole path
Notable Sayings:
“eh you know?”
“cute right!”
“hurhur”
“chicken”
Martini Binte Ali Wafar
Martini Binte Ali Wafar
Assistant Manager, Malay Lit
(a.k.a. Shaken, Not Stirred)

Martini runs like the wind, and sometimes even faster if there’s a cup of bubble tea waiting at the end of it. When she's not doing a 21km trail run, she's probably chilling with a Milksha on the couch while watching Friends and playing Puzzle Bubble.

Muhamed Leoaidil
Muhamed Leoaidil
Senior Manager, Non-Fiction, Sequential Arts
(a.k.a. The Resident Troll)

Don’t let his intense profile pic fool you — underneath that biker jacket is a wicked sense of humour and many lame jokes. Leo is like that hip uncle but not entirely, ykwim? He usually talks a lot of nonsense with Puay Shian, and has to ask Annabel to explain millennial/gen-z lingo to him. He has some of the “best” jokes, a slight obsession with sneakers, and the ability to make anything sound believable. However, nobody actually believes Leo anymore, except for Olivia.

⊙ Leo
Guilty Pleasure Read: Yahoo comments Guilty
Pleasure Song: Begging by Maneskin
Pet Peeve: Drivers not signaling
Notable Sayings:
“eh how come ah?”
“hehehe”
“nobody can chellen!”
“jialat sia”
Annabel Lee
Annabel Lee
Manager, Young Adult Fiction
(a.k.a. The ✨ dEsIGneR ✨)

Annabel drinks a lot of coke zero, coffee, and just... in general. She listens to Woman in Chains by Tears For Fears too often. Olivia says that Annabel exudes level 9000 boss energy without breaking a sweat, or a nail. The team always trusts Annabel to tell it like it is — you’ll know it’s her when it starts with an “ALOHA” and ends with a resounding “gamxia”!

⊙ Virgo ☽ Virgo ↑ Scorpio
Guilty Pleasure Read: Sylvia Day
Guilty Pleasure Song: Stars Are Blind by Paris Hilton
Pet Peeve: People being late
Notable Sayings:
“ya what?”
“aiya I don’t know”
“no”
“what’s this?”
Olivia Djawoto
Olivia Djawoto
Assistant Manager, Poetry and Literary Pioneer
(a.k.a. The Kind One)

Make way for Baby Spice! Olivia is that dependable and responsible human being who wouldn’t really harm a fly. Olivia doesn’t like bananas, but she would gladly take a glittery banana any time of day. According to Puay Shian and Annabel, Olivia sees the best in everyone and in every bad idea... until she doesn’t. She’s also the only one that laughs at Leo’s jokes.

⊙ Virgo ☽ Virgo ↑ Scorpio
Guilty Pleasure Read: Archie Comics
Guilty Pleasure Song: All Star by Smash Mouth
Pet Peeve: Parents who put their kids in prams when they can obviously walk
Notable Sayings:
“turds!”
“like”
“so like”
“you know like”
Ayilisha Manthira
Ayilisha Manthira
Project Executive, Tamil Lit

Ayilisha loves listening to podcasts all day whether it’s while she’s eating, sleeping, or running a dosai bootcamp for her friends. You can also sometimes catch her taking photos of cute animals passing by.

SWF 2021 Key Visual Concept and Video: Eric Foenander

Sound Design: Intriguant

Animation: Irsyad Ishak


About Arts House Limited

Arts House Limited (AHL) is a not-for-profit organisation committed to enriching lives through the arts. AHL is the cultural place manager of Singapore's Civic District. It manages two key national monuments - The Arts House, a multidisciplinary arts centre with a focus on literary programming, and the Victoria Theatre & Victoria Concert Hall, a heritage building that is home to the Singapore Symphony Orchestra. It also runs performing arts space Drama Centre as well as the Goodman Arts Centre and Aliwal Arts Centre, two creative enclaves for artists, arts groups and creative businesses.

AHL presents the Singapore International Festival of Arts - an annual pinnacle performing arts festival; as well as the Singapore Writers Festival - a multi-lingual festival presenting the world's top literary talents. In addition, AHL manages the showcase on Singapore's Cultural Medallion recipients at The Arts House.

AHL was set up in 11 December 2002 as a public company limited by guarantee under the National Arts Council and was officially renamed Arts House Limited on 19 March 2014. For more information, visit https://artshouselimited.sg/