There was a place in the Gillman Barracks where the publishers and creators gathered – a single building where stories were told and celebrated. Two weekends ago, our indie collaborative, the Rolling Ronins, were invited to booth at the Buy SingLit Festival held at the Gillman Barracks.
Due to Gillman Barracks’s location, crowd was sparse until after 1:30PM for both days, half an hour before the panels and discussions for both days started.
Regardless, I’d say that the Buy SingLit Festival this year was defined by two main factors: the people and the panels.
Events are not events without the people.
We had Alam Cahaya (a publisher, distributor, and resource hub for Malay language books – fiction and educational) on our left and SingLit Station (a non-profit organization pushing Singapore Literature) on our right. Other publishers and distributors exhibiting and selling included:
Note: Sorry if I’ve missed out other publishers! Drop me a comment if I missed out another booth / publisher at Buy SingLit Festival 2017 so that I can update this post as we go along.
The exhibitors and publishers aside, we met a lot of interesting participants as well – fellow writers, independent storytellers, or readers who were looking for a fun story to experience.
Last, but certainly not least, this event would not be possible without the support from the organizers, especially Kenny and his volunteers who were running around, making sure that the booths were fine, the AV was working well, and that the place exuded SingLit.
I am incredibly grateful to these panels. Not only did they bring new insights among the usual discussions, but they brought in a greater diversity of people to the event. Apart from panels speaking about SingLit and its comparison against International Lit, and its future, there were readings, performances, and interview panels with local writers and publishers.
One of the panels which struck me were The Future of SingLit - where we heard the perspectives from different sides of the argument: That SingLit was diminishing vs. That SingLit was changing. True, the SingLit community still seems to be getting increasingly insular. However, it’ll do us good to not confine our definition of SingLit to just works that traditional publishers produce.
These panels weren’t just a draw for the crowd, they brought refreshed hope that there will be people pushing for local literature and fiction to reach new heights.
The Buy SingLit Festival is an industry-led movement to raise awareness to local books and to encourage people to buy local fiction. To find out more, click here.