Goenawan Mohamad at the Singapore Writers Festival 2015... November 09, 2015 15:19
It was NUS Press' pleasure to host Goenawan Mohamad in Singapore for a few days, in particular for his keynote speech at the Singapore Writers Festival special programme on Indonesia, "17,000 Islands Dreaming..."
Thanks for everyone who came along for the speech, which we thought was fascinating, and for the excellent questions from the audience. The event was well attended, and the Straits Times gave it a fine write-up: ‘Goenawan Mohamad: "I write to liberate the language’:
"At his hour-long talk at the Singapore Writers Festival on Saturday 31st October, Goenawan, 74, charmed the 125-strong audience at The Arts House Chamber with his unwavering faith in the power of writing and his unexpected humour.
"At first glance, he is perfectly unassuming: a narrow-shouldered gentleman scholar who speaks of Plato and Russian literature with ease and authority, half-vanished under a roomy black jacket.
"But when he speaks, there is a fire to him. When the topic turns to writing in Indonesia, where language and the freedom of expression cannot shake off government scrutiny, Goenawan's first response is: 'When I write, the first urge is to liberate the language'."
A few days later, the Straits Times followed up with a book review of Faith in Writing:
"This is Goenawan's charm: grounding weighty insights into politics and power by relating them to the mundane and quotidian.Thanks to Nur Asyiqin Mohamad Salleh for the excellent write-up. And thanks to the Singapore Writers Festival for creating such a good platform for readers to meet writers.
"In these short, powerfully composed essays - most are two to three pages long - his voice and force of personality ring through."