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[Read! Fest 2019] When I Was Twenty

National Library Board


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When :

02:00 PM - 03:30 PM


National Library
100 Victoria Street National Library Board



This year, the sixth instalment of Read! Fest is anchored on the theme of Voyage. Book a trip with us and discover alternative forms of reading at Read! Fest 2019 programmes as we journey through space and time, only from 22 June – 28 July.


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Programme synopsis


Some poets think of their writing in their twenties as juvenilia. Some see it as the most literarily productive and energetic time of their lives. Some think of it as "now". This panel moderated by Joshua Ip brings together four Singapore poets of different ages - Deborah Emmanuel, Grace Chia, Leong Liew Geok and Natalie Wang - to share the poetry of their twenties, and how their writing has evolved since.


This programme is organised in partnership with Sing Lit Station.


Speaker Profiles


Deborah Emmanuel is a Singaporean poet, multidisciplinary artist and professional speaker. She has written When I Giggle In My Sleep (2015), Rebel Rites (2016) and Genesis (2018). Her work has been invited to things like the Barcelona International Poetry Festival, TEDx Singapore and Q Berlin Questions. She likes to make mad music with Wobology, Mantravine and the producer Kiat. Sometimes she concocts movement pieces from poems. Sometimes she teaches performance workshops. Sometimes she paints and other times she meditates.


Grace Chia is a multi-genre author of eight books, including womango, Cordelia, Mother of All Questions,The Wanderlusters and Every Moving Thing That Lives Shall Be Food. Her writing has appeared in World Literature Today, The Brooklyn Rail, Anthology of English Writing in Southeast Asia, Singapore Literature in English, CHA, QLRS and has been translated into French, German, Serbo-Croat, Portuguese and Chinese. Editor of We R Family, Grace’s latest work is a haiku-photo book about garage dogs with Dutch photographer Marcel Heijnen for the Hong Kong market.  


Joshua Ip is a poet, editor, and literary organiser. He has published four poetry collections and edited eight anthologies. He has won the Singapore Literature Prize, Golden Point Award, and received the Young Artist Award from the National Arts Council (Singapore) in 2017. He founded Sing Lit Station, an over-active literary charity that runs community initiatives including SingPoWriMo, Manuscript Bootcamp, and several workshop groups. He keeps a blog at 


Born in Penang, Malaysia, Leong Liew Geok read Literature in universities in Australia, England and the United States. She taught English Literature in NUS for twenty-one years. Her publications include poetry collections, Love is Not Enough (1991) and Women without Men (2000), and the anthology, More than Half the Sky: Creative Writings by Thirty Singaporean Women (1998; repr. 2009) which she edited. She has more poems in draft than completed or finished pieces, but hasn’t given up on Passions, her final collection (akan datang lagi!).


Natalie Wang’s debut collection of poetry, The Woman Who Turned into a Vending Machine (Math Paper Press), is a collection of poems on womanhood, metamorphosis, and myth and a tribute to these childhood companions. Her works have been published or are forthcoming in various journals including The Fairy Tale Review, LONTAR: The Journal of Southeast Asian Speculative Fiction, The Kindling, Rambutan Literary, QLRS, and Eunoia Review as well as the SingPoWriMo anthologies.


Registration notes:


  • Should you be unable to attend this programme, please release your slot using the ‘self-cancellation’ function in the automated email. This will free up the slot for another person. There is no waitlist for this programme.
  • Seats will not be reserved for latecomers.
  • Email for enquiries on this programme.




National Library

100 Victoria Street National Library Board