Gaurav Julka

The Heart can Articulate. Enunciate. Speak.

Singapore Writers Festival – A Volunteer’s Insight.

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Singapore Writers Festival was organized by NAC (National Arts Council) of Singapore from 31st October to 9th November 2014 and to my surprise I volunteered for this event.

Volunteering in Singapore was on my 2014 List and it was in fact in May or June of this year when I signed up for this festival. The surprise was that I actually went through, ad mist the most busy week of November, right after a sleepless night at Westin Hotel; I actually made it through two days of awesomeness.

First up I was really impressed by the sheer number of Authors that were engaged during the event [Authors and Speakers] and then I was simply enchanted on how they kept a strong focus on vernacular literature.

Day 1 of Volunteerism –  8th November: The volunteer responsible (a super cute girl) made an innocent assumption that I understood Tamil and assigned me a ‘room manager’ responsibility to all workshops and panels being held in Tamil for the day. I think I know more Chinese words than I know of Tamil but it was acceptable and logical. I took up the innocent challenge and it turned out to be amazing. I met some incredibly famous authors from India like Leena, Indra and many legacy writers from Singapore like Latha and AK Vardharajan. In fact authors like Kamladevi (Singapore) appreciated my participation in the events even though I was not able to understand anything. To be honest, they had no clue till almost the lunch session commenced, I would give an ‘Indian Nod’ to everything I was quizzed on.

The Saturday night ended at 8:30PM with my drifting home along with a McDonalds meal. When I put myself to bed, I had not slept for 38+hours. It was EPIC.

Day 2 of Volunteerism – 9th November: The Volunteer responsible was kind enough to give me an afternoon shift and let me sleep the entire morning. I reported at NLB, Bugis at 1:30PM only to end up having an enchanting Indian Lunch and within minutes I was assigned to Book Signing IC at Festive Pavilion which was in SMU. The first book signing queue I was managing was of Paul Theroux – Awesome right? 😉 – Following this, I met many other authors that were book signing on 9th November.

Between 5:30PM to 6:00PM I was free and was allowed to roam around, instead I attended a panel discussion between Leena Manimekalai and Catherine Lim on Feminism. What followed was a series of inspiration conversations with Leena and Catherine because right after the panel discussion they proceeded for their book signing which I was helping out with. Of course this inspirational sprint requires a dedicated blog post on  – how I wish I had more time to simply converse with these inspiring ladies.

The night wasn’t over yet. Next up: I took the responsibility to be a door bitch at SWF 2014 Closing party, I would check if every person entering the area is a featured author or an invited guest. It was quite unique experience, I had a glass of wine in my hand would toast it out to all the authors. Ah that’s so geeky of me.

This was followed by a bunch of volunteers and organizers drinking together (Whisky + Wine), also met the Director of the festival, Mr. Paul Tan, an interesting person. I thought he was humble, people thought otherwise.

Overall, it was a good experience, I think I will volunteer again next year 😀

Checkout the complete Gallery on SWF Website.


Written by Gaurav Julka

November 15, 2014 at 1:04 AM

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