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© 2019 by Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé

EVENTS CALENDAR

2020

Contemplating Mortality: Writing About Illness & Death

Date: Sat, 14 Mar, 3:00–5:00pm

          Sun, 15 Mar, 3:00–5:00pm

Venue: The Arts House, Council Room

Death and illness are difficult things to write about. In understanding both as universal phenomena for all of us, we are moved to contemplate their presence, their importance. Beyond denial and taboo, there is a vast good that arrives with such coming to terms. There is great comfort in reflection, honesty, succour, and acceptance. Join Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé in this safe and open workshop space, where participants share their own insights on how to navigate these complex subjects.

This is a ticketed event ($15). The first 15 participants will receive a complimentary copy of the quasi-memoir, The Good Day I Died. Lucky participants receive #BuySinglit vouchers to purchase Singapore titles. This programme is part of Textures 2020: A Weekend with Words. To register for the event, please do so HERE.

Crossing Writing Genres: The Demands of Craft

Date: Sat, 14 Mar, 1:00–2:00pm

Venue: The Arts House, Living Room


What are the challenges for the writer dabbling in different writing genres? What does each genre demand of the writer in terms of literary craft? What of cross-genre or hybrid textual creations? Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé facilitates this illuminating conversation with two eminent writers, Gwee Li Sui and Yeow Kai Chai. The first 20 participants will each receive a journal and a limited-edition poetry broadside.

 

Lucky participants receive #BuySinglit vouchers to purchase Singapore titles. Free admission with registration. This programme is part of Textures 2020: A Weekend with Words. To register for the event, please do so HERE.

Uncanny Yishun: A Literary Tour

Date: Sun, 8 Mar, 10:00am–12:00pm

Sun, 8 Mar, 10:15am–12:15pm

Sun, 8 Mar, 2:00pm–4:00pm

Sun, 8 Mar, 2:15pm–4:15pm

Venue: Yishun MRT

 

Welcome to Yishun, Singapore's most in/famous territory. Allow us to bring you on a guided tour of poetry, flash fiction and news stories that blends the strangeness and the splendour of Yishun with the physical sensation of walking the streets, parks and void decks of this intriguing estate. Whether you are a resident, a visitor or a social media voyeur, Uncanny Yishun captures the town as a living, breathing and believing experience. Featuring poetry and flash fiction from Low Kian Seh, Clara Mok, Marc Nair, Eugenia Tan, Cyril Wong, Crispin Rodrigues, Alvin Pang, Desmond Kon, Vanessa Ng and Gavin Lee.

To register for the event, please do so HERE.

City Hall: If Walls Could Talk (Workshop and Poetry Reading)

Date: Sat, 7 Mar, 3:00–5:35pm

Venue: National Gallery Singapore

Revel in Singapore poetry and architecture with a poetry reading and a workshop. Multi-awarded poet Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé will facilitate a workshop from 3:00–3:45pm at the National Gallery, Seminar Rooms 3 and 4. Thereafter, Desmond Kon will join Crispin Rodrigues, Grace Chia, Andrea Yew, Hamed Ismail, Lim Rong Chan, Tan Chee Lay, MK Kumar and Ayilisha in weaving poetry readings with the immersive multimedia exhibit from 4:00–5:30pm at the City Hall Foyer, City Hall Chamber & Singapore Courtyard. There will also be special performances to enhance the audience’s discovery of our history and Singapore Literatuer (Sing Lit). Limited capacity. This event is organised by Poetry Festival Singapore, as part of #BuySingLit.

To register for the event, please do so HERE.

Singapore Literature Book Club:

The Good Day I Died

Date: Thur, 20 Feb, 7:00–8:30pm

Venue: Central Public Library, Multi-Purpose Room

From NLB’s Singapore collection comes a book club with a unique local flavour. Here are discussed books by both well-known and emerging Singapore authors touching on topics close to home. It’s a great way to get acquainted with local literature and discover national literary treasures right here at the libraries. In this evening session, the book club will be discussing The Good Day I Died: The Near-Death Experience of a Harvard Divinity Student by Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé. The author will be present, to share in the discussion.

To register for the event, please do so HERE.

[ALT TXT] The Legacy of Literary Movements:

Lyric Postmodernisms

Date: Sun, 2 & 9 Feb, 10:00am–1:00pm

Venue: Central Public Library, Multi-Purpose Room

In the rarefied world of literature, some modern literary movements were game changers, in provoking new ways of writing, and thinking about writing. The result has been breathtaking—such transformative aesthetics, shifts that remain self-aware, and open to further evolution. Is it possible to work in the traditional lyric, and yet explore avant-garde experimentation? In this seminar, participants gain insights into what the postmodern lyric might look like, and in a follow-up session, share their own original writing in an open creative space. Each participant gets to take home a set of readings, specially curated for this event.

 

To register for the event, please do so HERE.

Promenade Theatre Performance: Something About Home

Date: Sat, 11 Jan, 1:00–2:00pm

Sat, 11 Jan, 4:00–5:00pm

Sat, 18 Jan, 1:00–2:00pm

Sat, 18 Jan, 4:00–5:00pm

Venue: National Gallery Singapore

Guided by the captains of your ship, embark on a journey through four different islands-cities — CALIBRATION, EVOCATION, AFFIRMATION and CONTEMPLATION — before arriving at your final destination. The Ports of Call are crafted by Peter Sau in collaboration with six pan-disabled artists, namely Dawn Joy-Leong, Claire Teo, June Chua, Shannen Tan, Cavan Chang and Timothy Lee. Collective to take the audience on a sensorial journey through the themes.

 

Hear their myths. Unravel their mysteries. Learn about their uniqueness. Be intrigued by their similarities. Acknowledge their invisibilities. See beyond their disabilities. Be moved by the four found//fount sonnets — penned by Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé, Kevin Martens Wong, Marc Nair, and Nuraliah Norasid —  which are their stories. As each of them makes themselves heard, seen and felt, realise they could be saying something about you and your home — our home.

For details and registration, please visit the event page HERE.

Shadows of Dust and Clouds

Date: Fri, 10 Jan – Sun, 19 Jan

Venue: Asian Civilisations Museum, ACM Green

“It is from the mirror,” Foucault writes, “that I find myself absent from the place where I am as long as I see myself there.” This outdoor installation by Vertical Submarine is a response to Desmond Kon’s sonnet, “This Mirrored Dias of History and Signs”, and Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities. The mirror is adopted as a metaphor to frame the dialogue of the encounter between the East and West. In Chinese literati painting, the mirror is considered an illusionary picture and a view to what is behind us, reflecting our past. This melting mirror, which reveals hidden messages during the night, blurs the distinction between dreams and memories, confusing shadows and ink. This process of disintegration is a reminder of materiality, and how forms and interpretations emerge over time.

For more on Light to Night 2020 events at the Asian Civilisations Museum, please visit the event page HERE.

En(light)en: Light to Night 2020 Festival Forum

City on the Edge of Imagination

Date: Sat, 11 Jan, 2:00–2:45pm

Venue: National Gallery Singapore, Level 4, Glass Room 

“These cities are all inventions,” Italo Calvino said, “born out of the heart of the unlivable cities we know.” It’s the end of another decade and the crisis of urban life only continues snowballing: overgrown cities, degradation of nature, A.I. surveillance, and increased loneliness. In this conversation, four core artists and writers featured in the festival will elaborate on their ideas and philosophies they hold for our city in the next decade. Featuring author Nuraliah Norasid, author Kevin Martens Wong, architect Kenneth Koh, and Justin Loke from Vertical Submarine. Moderated by interdisciplinary artist Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé.

For details and registration, please visit the event page HERE.

Light to Night 2020: Invisible Cities

Date: Fri, 10 Jan – Sun, 19 Jan, 10:00am–12:00am

Venue: The Civic District

Art, innovation and inspiring ideas intersect in this marquee event of Singapore Art Week. This fourth edition of the Festival is based on the theme Invisible Cities. The array of programmes — which span from day to night — draws us into the rich imaginary worlds of artists, writers, musicians, designers, filmmakers, performers and many other creative talents. Light to Night Festival will be celebrated across five of the Civic District’s most iconic cultural institutions: National Gallery Singapore, Asian Civilisations Museum, The Arts House, Victoria Theatre & Victoria Concert Hall, and Esplanade–Theatres on the Bay.

For more on the festival highlights, please visit the event page HERE.

To frame this year’s festival, four eminent Singapore authors — Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé, Kevin Martens Wong, Marc Nair, and Nuraliah Norasid — were commissioned to pen four found//fount sonnets, each designated a zone within the Civic District for ekphrastic inspiration. This is an ideal form of choice, the found//fount sonnet being a quintessentially Singaporean version of the classic poetic form. How may a form lend itself to ruminations and articulations of this island city? How do our four Singapore authors extend that conversation, to say something eloquent and meaningful about the Civic District, with its deep historical significance?

To read the commissioned sonnets, please visit the event page HERE.

2019

Meet-The-Authors:

Elaine Chiew, Tunku Halim & Laksmi Pamuntjak

Date: Sat, 30 Nov, 2:00–3:00pm

Venue: Kinokuniya Singapore Main Store

 

Authors Elaine Chiew, Tunku Halim and Laksmi Pamuntjak make a special appearance at Kinokuniya’s Main Store to share with you more about their latest publications: The Heartsick Diaspora and Other Stories, Scream to the Shadows, and Fall Baby. Moderated by Desmond Kon.

 

For more details, please visit the Kinokuniya event page HERE.

Seven Hundred Lines: A Crown of Found//Fount Sonnets

Date: Sat, 9 Nov, 4:30–5:30pm

Venue: The Arts House, Gallery II

 

This year’s bicentennial festivities have raised awareness of how Singapore’s history goes back some 700 years. This commemorative anthology, Seven Hundred Lines, revolves around the found//fount sonnet, a Singaporean version of the traditional poetic form. With 50 contributing authors, this epic poem features 50 loose instalments within a 700-line sonnet cycle or crown, a fitting tribute poem for such a monumental event. This sprawling, expansive lyric narrative is, indeed, a grand birthday poem to the country. Contributors read their stellar poems from the anthology. Hosted by: Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé. This is an event of the Singapore Writers Festival.

 

For more details, please visit the SWF website HERE.

My Language, My Narrative?

Date: Sun, 3 Nov, 5:00–6:30pm

Venue: The Arts House, Gallery II

 

How does language influence the way we think? Eight writers read from their works and speak on the peculiarities of their mother tongue(s), from concepts that only exist in one language to the influence on cadence and syntax. Their works will consider how language has shaped their narratives and the stories that they tell. Featuring: Harkaitz Cano, Inga Gaile, Hwang Jungeun, Roja Chamankar, Miguel-Manso, Wong Yi, Hamid Roslan, Sujata Bhatt. Moderated by: Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé. This is an event of the Singapore Writers Festival, made possible with the assistance of Literature Across Frontiers, the Embassy of the Republic of Korea, the Embassy of France and the Embassy of Portugal.

For more details, please visit the SWF website HERE.

New Fiction from Penguin Random House SEA

Date: Sun, 3 Nov, 1:30–2:30pm

Venue: The Arts House, Gallery II

 

Penguin Random House SEA launches two new fiction titles. Beauty Queens of Bishan by Akshita Nanda tell the story of thirteen small beauty parlours that co-exist quietly in Bishan, until a swanky new salon opens. In the battle of beauty parlours, who will be crowned the winner? In Beast by Krishna Udayasankar, Assistant Commissioner of Police Aditi Kashyap and Enforcer Prithvi solve a gruesome triple homicide in the terrifying world of the Saimhas—werelions—who have lived alongside humans since ancient times. Join the authors for a discussion on their writing inspirations and experiences. Moderated by: Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé. This is an event of the Singapore Writers Festival.

 

For more details, please visit the SWF website HERE.

Go Your Own Way

Date: Sat, 2 Nov, 7:30–9:00pm

Venue: The Arts House, Chamber

 

Amidst the expectations of genre, readership demands, and social norms, some writers have chosen to go off the beaten path and pursue a more unconventional or experimental process. Hear from these writers as they share the pressures and challenges they have faced in charting a path of their own, and finding their voices and readership. Featuring: Jorge Franco Ramos, Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé, Marylyn Tan, Tse Hao Guang. Moderated by: Daryl Qilin Yam. This is an event of the Singapore Writers Festival, made possible with the assistance of the Embassy of Colombia.

 

For more details, please visit the SWF website HERE.

New Non-fiction from Penguin Random House SEA

Date: Sat, 2 Nov, 3:00–4:00pm

Venue: The Arts House, Gallery II

 

Penguin Random House SEA launches two new non-fiction titles. The War on Terror by Rene Acosta provides details on how the military broke the operations of the al-Qaeda, Jemaah Islamiyah, and the Abu Sayyaf Group in the Southern Philippines. The Good Day I Died by Desmond Kon relates his near-death experience in 2007 and his transformed life after he returned. Framed as a quasi-memoir, this is Desmond’s most confessional writing yet. Join the authors for a discussion on their writing inspirations and experiences. Moderated by Eric Tinsay Valles. This is an event of the Singapore Writers Festival.

 

For more details, please visit the SWF website HERE.

Positions of Identity: Exhilarating Treatments

Date: Sat, 24 Aug, 9:00am–12:00pm

Venue: Raffles Institution

How does one employ voice, form and speaker presence to articulate positions of identity in a poem? In this workshop, participants read some of the most exciting writers today, who approach with such refreshing aesthetics the following themes revolving around identity: race, belief, nationality, gender, social class, eco-consciousness, among others. Join award-winning poet Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé, as we discuss the newness brought to these familiar and tried tropes. Participants also try their hand at such textual innovations, while receiving a set of readings specially curated for this session.

Poetry Today: Image, Sound, Idea, Feeling

Date: Tue, 13 Aug, 1:45am–3:15pm

Venue: Changkat Primary School

How do poets today use imagery and sound to create poems that exhibit good craft? How do they reauthor personal experience, and reproduce emotion in their lyric? In this workshop, students will read two poems in the confessionalist mode, discussing their structure and meaning. In the second half of the workshop, they will engage in a writing activity that highlights these important aspects of contemporary poetics. They will read their poems aloud, sharing the intentionality behind their new poems.

The Award-Winning Poem: Writing for Competitions

Date: Fri, 9 Aug, 2:00–5:00pm

Venue: Sing Lit Station

What makes for an award-winning poem? What would impress a panel of judges? Does one send in a traditional form or something more experimental? Should a writer even care for literary contests, and are awards important? If a writer decides to submit work for competition, what are things he or she should look out for? This is a workshop exclusively organised for the writing collective, /s@ber.

Exploring History Through Poetry

Date: Sun, 21 Jul, 4:15–5:15pm

Venue: The Arts House, The Living Room

What insights can poetry bring into notions of history? What of past narrative is included, and what left out? What are some of the writings that have used history deftly? Three authors bring the audience on a walk down memory lane, and share how they have written about and been influenced by histories, both national and personal. Poet Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé facilitates this illuminating discussion with the distinguished authors Christine Chia, Gwee Li Sui, and Robert Yeo. Organised by Poetry Festival Singapore, this is a ticketed event ($10).

To register for the event, please do so HERE.

CONTOUR Marathon Reading

As part of Poetry Festival Singapore 2019, contributors to the anthology, CONTOUR: A Lyric Cartography of Singapore, have been invited to be featured poets in this online marathon reading session. This e-activity will comprise videos of poems selected for the anthology. The videos may feature poets reciting their own pieces, or be creative interpretations of these texts. The video clips may be found on PFS’ Instagram stories and kept in their Instagram highlights, titled “CONTOUR Marathon Reading”. These video clips have been posted continuously since 12 July 2019. The highlights will remain on PFS’ Instagram page for a good span of time.

Opening of Singapore Botanic Gardens Seed Bank

Date: Sat, 13 Jul, 9:00–11:30am

Venue: Singapore Botanic Gardens Seed Bank, 1D Cluny Road

In conjunction with Singapore Botanic Gardens Heritage Festival 2019, this is the opening of Singapore’s very first seed bank, with the aim to conserve the seeds of threatened plant species from Southeast Asia. The seed bank will have the capacity to store seeds from up to 25,000 species of plants, about half of all seed plant species within the region. Distinguished author Edwin Thumboo launches the anthology, The Nature of Poetry, with contributing writers in attendance.

[Read! Fest 2019] Writing About Art: The Beauty of Ekphrasis

Date: Sat, 6 Jul, 1:00–3:00pm

Venue: National Library Building, Visitors Briefing Room

 

From art can emerge the most imaginative writing. How do authors interpret artworks, and create beautiful texts of their own? Commissioned by the National Arts Council, the anthology, Eye/Feel/Write: Experiments in Ekphrasis, features twenty eminent Singapore authors, who penned pieces inspired by artwork at the National Gallery Singapore and Singapore Art Museum. Introducing some of these stellar collaborations, editor Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé helps participants unleash the imaginative power of ekphrastic writing, encouraging them to write beyond “what they see”. Participants realise how different art forms may inform and inspire other art forms, thereby expanding their creative practice.

 

To register for the event, please do so HERE.

#BuySingLit: Spot The Author


Date: Sun, 17 March, 1:00–3:00pm

Venue: Yong Siak Street

Come down to the #BuySingLit Yong Siak Street Party, where selected authors will appear during special two-hour slots. Authors may be milling about, chilling in a café, or attending events. Visitors simply have to identify an author and take a photo with him or her to win #BuySingLit vouchers. Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé is slated to be at the party on Sun, 17 March, 1–3pm.

 

The #BuySingLit Yong Siak Street Party is organised by BooksActually, with the support of the Singapore Book Council and National Arts Council. 

Habits of Creativity: Exploring Writing Methods 

 

Date: Sun, 10 Mar, 2:00–4:00pm 

Venue: The Arts House, Council Room

Tickets: $10

 

How do you generate new ideas for your writing? Are there established methods out there? How does one go about carving out craft as discipline? In this workshop, Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé invites participants to discuss their own effective writing habits and process, in an inclusive environment that welcomes both emerging and established practitioners. The writing segment will have participants engaging with Desmond’s book of creative prompts, The World According to Ms Erasure.

 

The first 15 participants will each receive a complimentary copy of the book. This programme is a part of Textures 2019 at The Arts House. 

 

To register for the event, please do so HERE.

 

 

 

Living Galleries Ekphrasis Poetry Tour & Workshop

 

Date: Sat, 9 March, 3:30–6:30pm

Venue: National Gallery

Free with registration

 

Lim Cheng Hoe: Painting Singapore presents social and cultural narratives of Singapore in paint. Three generations of Singapore poets will do the same in verse. They will be accompanied by a guitarist, dancers and a choir. Featured poets include: Loh Guan Liang, Angeline Yap, Tan Chee Lay, Kamaria Buang, Swetha Senthikumar, Yeow Kai Chai, Cheong Yun Yee, Heng Siok Tian, Djohan A. Rahman, Werner Kho. Hosted by Khoo Lilin.

 

How does one verbalize intimate feelings about home? Art becomes a muse for the poets drawn from all the official linguistic traditions in Singapore. The poems engage in the imaginative act of narrating or reflecting on situations limned in paintings. In its latest iteration, this popular poetry tour will explore representations of home in the paintings of watercolorist Lim Cheng Hoe in National Gallery Singapore.

 

Participants may sign up for 1 of 2 tours and/or 1 of 2 ekphrastic poetry workshops from 3.30pm to 6.30pm (Saturday).

 

Tour with Poets

 

Group 1: 3:30–5:00pm

Group 2: 5:00–6:30pm

 

Workshop with Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé

 

Group 1: 5:15–6:00pm

Group 2: 4:00–4:45pm

 

This is a Poetry Festival Singapore-organized event for #BuySingLit, in partnership with National Gallery Singapore. Supported by National Arts Council.

 

To register for the event, please do so HERE.

 

 

 

Contemplations: Religion, Myth & History 

 

Date: Sat, 9 Mar, 11:00am–12:00pm 

Venue: The Arts House, Blue Room

Free with registration

 

How does a poet or fictionist engage with history, myth or religion to create a great literary work? What of the author’s own belief or spirituality—how is that navigated along with the art creation? What are the challenges and highlights of such intriguing work? Poet Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé facilitates this illuminating panel discussion, featuring eminent authors Gwee Li Sui, Krishna Udayasankar, and Nuraliah Norasid.

 

The first twenty participants receive a complimentary journal with a limited edition broadside. Lucky participants receive #BuySinglit vouchers to purchase Singapore titles. This programme is a part of Textures 2019 at The Arts House. 

 

To register for the event, please do so HERE.

 

 

 

Poetic Forms: Experimenting With Structure

 

Date: Fri, 8 Mar, 3:00–4:00pm 

Venue: Central Public Library, B1 Multi-Purpose Room

Free with registration

 

In Singapore, new poetic forms have been invented, including the twin cinema, asingbol and anima methodi. Are traditional forms still relevant today? What are the challenges of working within such structural limitations? In a discussion facilitated by editor Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé, we’ll hear three established voices—Eric Valles, Pierre Vinclair, and Yeow Kai Chai—read their own poems, and share their ideas on the complexities of poetic creation.

 

Lucky participants receive #BuySinglit vouchers to purchase Singapore titles. This event is presented by Squircle Line Press, in partnership with National Library Board. Supported by National Arts Council. 

 

To register for the event, please do so HERE.

 

 

 

Eye/Feel/Write IV: The Light Between Objects

 

Date: Sun, 24 Feb, 4:00–5:30pm 

Venue: National Gallery, City Hall Chamber, City Hall Wing, Level 2 

Free with registration

 

Writers and spoken word artists read and discuss their works in response to the exhibition Minimalism. Space. Light. Object. Hosted by Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé, this reading features these eminent writers: Momtaza Mehri, Charlene Shepherdson, Tse Hao Guang, Jennifer Anne Champion, Marc Nair.

 

This reading is organised in collaboration with Words Go Round, an outreach programme by the Singapore Writers Festival. It is co-presented with National Gallery Singapore, and made possible with the support of Spread the Word and the Garfield Weston Foundation.

 

To register for the event, please do so HERE.

 

 

 

Get Lucky: Writing Across the Sea

 

Date: Sun, 17 Feb, 1:00–3:00pm

Venue: Library@Orchard

Free with registration

 

Get Lucky: An Anthology of Singaporean and Philippine Writings, published in 2015, is an anthology of everything Filipino in Singapore. Through this collection, Get Lucky has fostered a fellowship in mutual trust among Filipinos and with Singaporeans. This is a reading and panel discussion co-presented with Poetry Festival (Singapore). Featured readers include: Annabelle Fabia-de Arroz, Cathy Limpe Candano, Eric Tinsay Valles, Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé, Felix Cheong, Miel, Migs Bravo Dutt, Min Lau, Ng Kah Gay, Noelle De Jesus, Ton Garcia.

 

This event celebrates 50 years of diplomatic ties between Singapore and the Philippines. There will also be a photo exhibit of Filipino costumes, curated by the University of the Philippines Alumni Association in Singapore (UPAAS). The exhibit showcases traditional Filipino costumes across the three main island groups of Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. 

 

To register for the event, please do so HERE.