Festival to inspire love for reading

Festival to inspire love for reading
Mrs Koh Chui Fun, 52, a school counsellor, with her son Yong De, 10, at one of the booths at the basement of the National Library yesterday.

A month-long reading festival was launched here yesterday in a bid to get more people to pick up a book.

The line-up of more than 100 programmes and activities during the inaugural event includes literary trails led by writers and book parties where participants can meet local authors.

For a start, book covers of favourite titles such as Charlotte's Web by E.B. White and local author Adrian Tan's The Teenage Textbook have been redrawn by artists. These versions are on display in the lobby of the National Library in Victoria Street, and in an MRT train.

The 25 public libraries here will also hold film screenings, drama performances and interactive storytelling sessions.

The festival, themed Books That Moved Me, was launched by the Minister for Communications and Information, Dr Yaacob Ibrahim.

It marks the 10th anniversary of Read! Singapore, a campaign by the National Library Board to encourage reading through activities such as book discussions.

Speaking at the National Library, Dr Yaacob said the effort has benefited many Singaporeans.

There were more than 600,000 participants last year, compared with 13,000 when the campaign started in 2005.

"While reading for pleasure, we are introduced to different ideas, cultures and situations and this helps to broaden our horizons and shape our perspectives and world view," Dr Yaacob said.

"This year's festival encourages Singaporeans to remember their favourite stories, the ones that have put a smile on their face and brought tears to their eyes."

One book he could not put down, Dr Yaacob revealed, was Agatha Christie's detective novel The Murder Of Roger Ackroyd.

He discovered who the murderer was only on the last page, and still has his original copy, he revealed in a "memory book" where visitors can pen their thoughts about books they have read.

Other activities include walks led by local authors Fanny Lai and A.J. Low in Changi and Katong, where they will show visitors the places which formed the settings of two of their respective books, Nini In Changi Village and Sherlock Sam.

At the National Library, people can also explore well-loved titles through scents and sounds at booths located at the basement.

For example, they can read childhood favourite The Magic Faraway Tree, by Enid Blyton, while listening to the rustling of leaves and inhaling the musky smell of a forest.

Said civil servant Law Geok Cheng, 40, a fan of the book: "It goes beyond the sense of sight and touch."

In line with the festival's theme, 10 local writers have penned poems about how reading has shaped their lives. The collection, which also includes 20 short stories, is available in English, Tamil, Malay and Chinese, and can be obtained free of charge from any public library.


This article was first published on June 21, 2014.
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