Wena Poon is one of my favourite writers – her character relations are dynamic, her writing is funny, and her stories are at its fundamental level, interesting. Thus, whenever the Singapore Writers Festival comes by, we always look forward to her performance readings. The Tiger and I were incredibly happy to get the opportunity to watch her perform a piece from “The Adventures of Snow Fox and Sword Girl”, one of her latest books.
Snow Fox and Sword Girl tells the story of Emperor Taliesin and his childhood friend, confidante, and bodyguard, swordswoman Sei Shonagon. Together, they form a close bond in a quest to prove that the Emperor of Japan was human and not, as speculated, a fox spirit under the guise of a masked Emperor.
With Wena’s props, costumes, and storytelling, we enjoyed ourselves massively, promptly getting her books signed soon after. Either way, it was great chatting with a fellow writer and friend, especially since we only see her during SWF. (To find out more about Wena Poon, click here.)
My last day at this year’s SWF consisted only of “Bald-Faced Lies”, a workshop conducted by Karen Joy Fowler. While I was expecting a few tips on writing tension, I was still able to get a few good lessons from this awesome Man Booker nominated writer.
We had a few on-the-spot writing exercises on believability, persuasion, and the art of deception through fiction. In between, she gave us a few rules to consider while attempting our writing. While rules like, “Tell the truth as far as you can” and “Never tell a bigger lie than you need to” were incredibly useful, one of the main points I found constantly being brought up through the lesson was this –
Believable Fiction will always find its roots in the truth.
In short, the old adage of – there is no smoke without fire. Overall, it was an informative session, with an entertaining Q & A conclusion with Karen speaking of her writing process and how to just persist. Or rather, persist and improve. It was truly an enjoyable session. (To find out more about Karen Joy Fowler, click here.)
So there you have it! My SWF for 2014 has been great, with many thanks to the National Arts Council for the Festival Pass and organising such a wonderful event. While I’m sorry to see Paul leaving as Festival Director, I am looking forward to next year’s festival. Onwards!