By Kuang Shane Qi (19A13A)
Photographs courtesy of Alyssa Marie Loo (19A13A)
Students of Literature in English Paper 2 (The English Renaissance) might be familiar with this quote by John Donne:
“Twice or thrice had I lov’d thee,
Before I knew thy face or name;
So in a voice, so in a shapeless flame
Angels affect us oft…”
(In this case, “twice or thrice” refers to the number of morning announcements the Lit Week Team made to sleepy students… )
Of course, this is just a really roundabout way of saying that most people would have had at least a vague inkling of a “Literature Week” even before it began. Thanks to the organisers’ aggressive advertising campaign, a healthy amount of speculation was generated in the month leading up to the week itself. Many might have found themselves asking questions like “are they actually going to publish the anthology they made us all write for?” or even “does anyone care enough about Literature to do this?”
Well, the answers to these questions were soon to be revealed.
Cool Canteen + Corridor Content
The theme for this year’s Lit Week was Crossover, which encouraged students to explore unexpected combinations of genres, stories, time periods, and characters—and these ideas were sure to have struck you when the exhibitions crossed over into the canteen. Monopolising the front of the canteen were several large notice boards which urged passers-by to get their creative juices flowing. One of these was a blackout poetry exhibit, where students could create new works out of extracts from existing texts. On the other side of the walkway, a whiteboard scattered with word-magnets enticed students to create new meanings out of a random jumble of words.
The displays were not limited to the canteen. Literary quotes, big and attention-grabbing, were scrawled across various walls in chalk. One thing was for certain: Literature had arrived, and it was here to take over the school.
Launch Party @ TSD!
To kick the week off with a bang, a Gatsby-esque speakeasy-party was held in the TSD. After the attendees streamed in with jazz music blasting in the background, the first segment of the party, the Great Game Show, was well underway.
As its name suggests, the game show segment quizzed audience members on various bits of literary trivia. The more wacky questions included: guessing the title of a pop song that has been re-written into a sonnet, pitching an idea for a crossover of literary works, and creating an interpretative dance of an Andrew Marvell poem. (It was one group’s moment of pride when Ms Lye Su Lin of the Literature Department recognised their dance as being based off The Unfortunate Lover.)
Good old fashioned creative jam!
The launch party also featured a host of spoken word performances, which ranged from the hard-hitting to the humorous to the heartwarming. Khor Eng Yeow (19S06E) opened the acts with two emotionally charged pieces with a strong rhythmic beat, while Yu Ke Dong (19A13A) and Lim Yi Tian (HCI) performed a whimsical poem titled Choose Your Own Adventure. A further diversity of styles was exhibited by Loh Lin (19A01D), Liya Chang (HCI), and Austin Ong (HCI), who took the audience through the highs and lows of love, youth, and experience.
The next segment was where the buskers took the stage with jazzy vocals and glitzy costumes. Adlina Anis (19A01D), Audrey Wan (19A13A), and Charmaine Teo (19A01B) performed renditions of jazz and musical theatre songs, drawing murmurs of awe from the audience at their vocal prowess.
True to the spirit of a speakeasy, the party concluded with the serving of mocktails inspired by iconic works of fiction. The selection included Tequila Mockingbird (To Kill A Mockingbird), Polyjuice Potion (Harry Potter), and Nightlock Berries (The Hunger Games). And the student-bartenders’ efforts were not in vain—one attendee, while sipping on a drink, remarked, “These drinks are surprisingly good!”
The Lit Week programme also boasted creative writing workshops hosted by none other than Singlit heavyweights Alfian Sa’at and Jollin Tan themselves. Both loosely based on the theme Crossover, the workshops challenged participants to draw upon knowledge of other disciplines and to integrate them into their writing.
A Translingual Toolkit by Alfian Sa’at introduced the idea of a translingual writer, that is, a writer who writes in two languages at the same time. In this workshop, participants experimented with creating translingual texts, paying attention to how their mother tongue languages could inflect their own English-language writings.
The Ekphrastic, or Art, in Poetry by Jollin Tan explored the intersection between art and poetry, allowing participants to gain a deeper understanding of what informs art movements, and how literary texts might correspond to or comment on the tenets that underlie these movements.
Lit Week 2019 culminated in Dramafeste, where the five houses battled it out on stage with their own original plays. However, with this margin being too narrow for my purpose, I have not room to write it down. Do await our Dramafeste article, which will be published later this week!
After a whirlwind of activities, Lit Week 2019 drew to a close. While the chalked quotes and canteen exhibits must, as per school regulations, be taken down, Lit Week for sure has left a mark on Arts and Science students alike.
(And a PSA to those who missed their chance to get the limited edition Lit Week merchandise, or just want more stuff: stickers will continue to be sold in the canteen this week, as well as copies of the anthology written by the Y6 Literature batch.)
Lit Week Team
Carina Lee (19A01A)
Loh Su Jean (19A01A)
Naia Nathan (19A01A)
Bryan Ge (19A01B)
Ellisha Khairi (19A01B)
Loh Lin (19A01D)
Alyssa Marie Loo (19A13A)
Audrey Wan (19A13A)
Kuang Shane Qi (19A13A)
Tay Xi Teng (19A13A)
Yu Ke Dong (19A13A)
Ethan Aw (19S06A)