My Schedule for the 2018 Singapore Writers Festival

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The 2018 Singapore Writers Festival is just around the corner.  As both a moderator and a featured writer, I have a lot more events this year than in 2017. Please drop by and say hello.

SCHEDULE

03 Nov, Saturday 8.00pm – 9.30pm (90 minutes) – Break Out: A Gala Reading

  • What: Reading
  • Venue: The Arts House, Gallery II
  • Featuring: Adam Aitken, Maria Galina, Law Lok Man, Louise 羅樂敏, Nina McConigley, Victor Fernando R. Ocampo, Sithuraj Ponraj, Yoko Tawada
  • Moderator: TBC

How does one stay true to one’s identity even as he/she crosses multiple cultures, languages and time zones? Is a person’s voice to be discovered, or a continuum of incremental influences? Whether whipping up new speculative realms or switching between linguistic codes, these writers exemplify the magpie sensibility. Don’t miss this special reading showcasing imaginative wordsmiths.


04 Nov, Sunday 7.00pm – 8.00pm (60 Minutes) – The Familiar and the Alien

  • What: Panel Discussion
  • Venue: The Arts House, Chamber
  • Featuring: Rachel Heng, Kass Morgan, Krishna Udayasankar
  • Moderator: Victor Fernando R. Ocampo

In imagining the future or an alternative reality, a writer must achieve resonance through setting and characterisation. How does one draw in the reader with enough known elements from the real world in order to make it relatable? Kass Morgan creates a dystopic series where Earth has been devastated by a nuclear apocalypse; Rachel Heng sets her novel in a near future in New York City where people can live for 300 years; and Krishna Udayasankar, a Singapore-based Indian author known for her modern retelling of Mahabharata through the novels Govinda, Kaurava and Kurukshetra.


05 Nov, Monday 8.30pm – 9.30pm (60 Minutes) – The Influence of Science Fiction on Modern Science

  • What: Classroom Series
  • Venue: The ArtsHouse, Living Room
  • Featuring: Victor Fernando R. Ocampo

What were the science fiction works that came before modern science? Published in 1818, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein has been argued to be the first sci-fi novel. Since then, authors such as Ray Bradbury and Arthur C. Clarke have imagined what science could achieve through their writing. In this Classroom Talk, sci-fi author Victor Fernando R. Ocampo explores the relationship between literature and the sciences, and how science fiction has actually inspired, and continues to inspire, the science of today.


08 Nov, Thursday 7:30pm – 8:30 (60 minutes) – LONTAR Retrospective

  • What: Panel Discussion
  • Venue: SWF Bookstore
  • Featuring: Jason Erik Lundberg, Victor Fernando R. Ocampo, Christina Sng
    Moderator: Michelle Martin

BooksActually presents LONTAR Retrospective with Jason Erik Lundberg, Christina Sng, Victor Ocampo.


10 Nov, Saturday 10.30am – 11.30am (60 minutes) – Speculative Fiction as Moral Compass

  • What: Panel Discussion
  • Venue: The ArtsHouse, Blue Room
  • Featuring: Victor Fernando R. Ocampo, Rachel Heng, Nuraliah Norasid
  • Moderator: Khoo Sim Eng

From pursuing immortality to eradicating marginalization, speculative fiction reveals the deepest desires of humankind. How can the genre prompt readers to assess humanity’s moral progress, and to rethink what could be right or wrong? This panel brings together authors across science fiction and fantasy to discuss the potentialities of the genre.


11 Nov, Sunday 3:30 PM – 5:00 PM (90minutes) – Chicken Rice and Adobo: What We Love about the Philippines and Singapore

  • What: Reading and Panel Discussion
  • Venue: HideOut@Funan Showsuite, Junction of Hill Street and High Street. Free Event
  • Featuring: Aaron Lee, Claire Betita de Guzman, Lawrence Ypil, Heng Siok Tian, Felix Cheong and Victor Fernando R. Ocampo
  • Moderator: Eric Tinsay Valles

Description:
Increased trade and cultural exchanges between Singapore and the Philippines have led to shared experiences and stories in prose and poetry. This session continues a literary dialogue that has spawned joint anthologies and readings. Listen to the featured writers read excerpts of their works and join in the fellowship centered on what we love such as comfort food, cultural diversity and a good story.


SWF 2018

“To See Infinity In The Pages Of A Book” Translated into Tamil for Aroo

அண்டத்தில் யாரும் பார்த்திராத ஒன்று விண்வெளிவீரருக்கும், வான்கணிப்பாளருக்கும் தென்பட்டது – முடிவிலியின் இழையை பற்றியபடி காலவெளியின் பக்கங்களுக்குள் விழுந்துக்கொண்டேயிருத்தல்.”

Those who fall endlessly into books never die. They are forever reading.

My flash fiction piece “To See Infinity In The Pages Of A Book” (முடிவிலியின் இழை) was recently translated into Tamil and appeared in the online Speculative Fiction magazine Aroo, along with the accompanying artwork by Sonny Liew. This far-future philosophical tale originally came out in LONTAR: The Journal of Southeast Asian Fiction Volume 10 whie Sonny’s piece was first used for the cover of my short story collection The Infinite Library And Other Stories.

Aroo (அரூ) is a short form of the Tamil word “Aroobam” (அரூபம்), meaning formlessness.

Thank you to the editor Ram for including our work. Congratulations on the launch of Aroo!

Aroo

The Infinite Library And Other Stories Shortlisted For The 2018 Rubery Award

My book, The Infinite Library And Other Stories has made it to the official shortlist of this year’s prestigious Rubery Awards, the United Kingdom’s equivalent of the Booker Prize for independent, self-published and small press publications.

Victor R. Ocampo, a Filipino living in Singapore, is a clever, skilled writer. His short stories are subtle and demanding, hovering in the space between literary fiction, experimental fiction and cyberpunk.”

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Here Be Dragons at the Internationale Jugendbibliothek in Munich

These two copies of my Romeo Forbes Award-winning children’s book “Here Be Dragons” are on their way to join the collection of the Internationale Jugendbibliothek (The International Youth Library) in Munich, Germany.

Housed in Blutenburg Castle, the IB holds the world’s largest collection of children’s literature, with over 600,000 volumes in 150 languages. I am happy that they will contribute to the representation of works by immigrants in general, and the Filipino diaspora in particular.

Here Be Dragons was published by CANVAS Press in 2015 with illustrations by Jon Jaylo and a Filipino translation by Rhandee Garlitos.

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Where Her Shawl Ends And Her Cat Begins

Deven Philbrick, a writer, essayist and prose editor for the Seattle Review covers “The Infinite Library And Other Stories” for Singapore Unbound:

The distinction between literary and genre fiction has been the topic of much debate in recent years. How the distinction ought to be made and whether the distinction is ultimately useful at all are questions with which many people interested in contemporary fiction are deeply engaged. Although a consensus on the answers certainly does not exist, one significant result of the questions having been posed is a reluctance to dismiss universally so-called genre writers as peddlers of formulaic fictions designed for quick consumption and simple, mass appeal. Science-fiction, for example, is now more than ever taken seriously as literary art. Its potential for imagining alternative realities, for conceiving of other possibilities for organizing a world, makes it a genre with the capacity for profound philosophic investigation. Writers like Samuel R. Delany, Ursula K. Le Guin, Octavia Butler, Thomas Disch, and Joanna Russ are increasingly accepted as towering figures of English-language letters. Victor Fernando Ocampo, author of The Infinite Library and Other Stories, has written a book that puts him among their rank.

Fundamentally, The Infinite Library and Other Stories is a book about possibility, limitation, and the boundary between them. In imagining alternative possibilities and stretching them to the point of snapping, Victor Fernando Ocampo engages in an act of profound political importance, aesthetic significance, and philosophical rigor that is a serious pleasure to ingest. ”

I am so honored and thrilled to get this killer review. I was both stunned and humbled after reading it. You can read the whole review here: Where Her Shawl Ends And Her Cat Begins (which is a line from The Old Blue Notebook, a story which first appeared in Daily Science Fiction).

Thank you to Deven and to Singapore Unbound editor Jee Leong Koh!

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LONTAR Volume 10: Saying Goodbye To A Southeast Asian Institution

The first volume of LONTAR: The Journal of Southeast Asian Speculative Fiction came out in 2013. Named after “Lontar” (“Rontal” in Filipino), an Indonesian word for a bound palm-leaf manuscript from the fifth century BCE , it was meant to showcase Speculative Fiction writing in its myriad forms from all across Southeast Asia.

I was too late to contribute to its maiden issue, but my story “Entanglement” appeared in Volume 2. Two further works “Brother to Space, Sister to Time” and “Father is the Blood, Mother is the Wine” appeared in Volumes 6 and 9 respectively. Both ended up as the cover stories.

It’s really sad to see LONTAR go. There really isn’t any publication of it’s scope and breadth focused exclusively on Southeast Asia anywhere in the world.

It’s tenth and final issue is double-sized wonder featuring work by Dean Alfar, Vida Cruz, Drewscape,  Joses Ho, Patricia Karuningan, Gabriela Lee, Manish Melwani, Wayne Ree, Lakan Umali, Eliza Victoria, Topaz Winters, Cyril Wong, Kevin Martens Wong, and many others. Founding Editor Jason Erik Lundberg wanted to include the artwork made by award-winning artist Sonny Liew for the my book The Infinite Library and Other Stories.  I wrote a flash fiction piece called “To See Infinity In The Pages Of A Book” to accompany it.

Thank you to Jason, Poetry Editor Kristine Ong Muslim, Comics Editor Adan Jimenez, and publishers Epigram and Math Paper Press (Volumes 1 and 2) for all the hard work.

Let’s hope it won’t be too long before another publication picks up LONTAR’s legacy.

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A New Story in the Quarterly Literature Review of Singapore

Thank you to the editors of the Quarterly Literature Review of Singapore for including my short story “As If We Could Dream Forever” in QLRS’ 17th volume.

Set 150 years in the future, this work deals with the concept of Free Will and using humans as receptacles for AI automation,  teenage angst, and extending National Service to young women.

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This story was inspired by three different, totally unrelated works – the comic book “Planetary” by Warren Ellis, Gregorio Brilliantes award-winning short story “The Cries of  Children on an April Afternoon in the year 1957” and of course,  Goh Poh Seng’s seminal novel “If We dream Too Long ” (from which the title of my story is derived).

As if we Could Dream Forever