Photo credit Ravi Manthovani

Like most local events happening this year, the annual Singapore Writers Festival is moving online.

Instead of the lack of a physical space impeding their plans, the literary-focused festival will move forward with a wealth of talks, workshops, interactive programmes and Q&As — all conducted online.

In tradition with past editions, the list of esteemed speakers is thrilling: Margaret Atwood, Art Spiegelman, Zadie Smith, Liu Cixin, Naomi Klein, amongst others.

However, taking advantage of the festival’s newly-minted virtual setting, they have taken the admirable leap to experiment with formats. Night Spin 182.7FM is a festival highlight that rethinks our enduring relationship with the radio.

 

Transforming The Arts House into the festival’s radio station, Night Spin 182.7FM is a series of podcasts and vodcasts, including radio plays, artist interviews, insightful dialogues, and segments surrounding literature in Singapore.

The Love Radio segment, hosted by poet Deborah Emmanuel, allows listeners to make love poem dedications to a loved one. Emmanuel will curate & read out a poem especially for them.

On Shades of Self, MAMA MAGNET team up with writer Nyshka Chandran and Ashley Erianah for a series of conversations with notable Singaporean creatives, ranging from rapper Masia One and multi-hyphenate artist Rizman Putra to drag queen icon Becca D’Bus and writer Shivram Gopinath.

Malam Seram reaches back to the age-old tradition of horror storytelling. Abdul Karim Sadali, known to many as DJ KC, brings to life spine-chilling tales adapted from Singaporean short stories.

Access to all Night Spin 182.7FM shows come at $20 and can be purchased here.

To get a sense of the world behind Night Spin 182.7FM, we had a brief chat with The Art House’s programming manager Shridar Mani. Read it below.


What sparked the idea behind Night Spin 182.7FM?

With the festival this year moving to an entirely digital platform and coupled with the theme of intimacy, we tried to think of a way in which these two elements could come together in a cohesive way.

For many of us, the radio has always been a device that very intimately connects us whether it’s through music, listening to an audio documentary on a news station or in conversations with personalities.

We decided then to transform this experience into a digital radio station for SWF that would bring together all these elements of text, music and conversation.

How was it like putting together the various programmes?

We had quite a number of approaches in putting this together.

Some programmes were ideas that the team had about specific content that we thought worked well in this medium but that would also add an edge to the programmes.

For example, radio plays by Edith Podesta and Grace Kalaiselvi that explore the relationship between the female body in mythology and history and its relationship to the contemporary world. Or Deborah Emmanuel’s Love Radio, which plays off the love song dedication idea.

Others were programmes proposed to us by partners whose work we felt with within the radio station concept, such as radio plays adapted from Singlit texts by The Second Breakfast Company and specially curated podcast episodes by well-known podcasters in Singapore, Nicole Lim and DJ KC.

Writing’s On The Wall is a series of interviews with singer-songwriters, and it boasts a diverse range of lyricists! what stood out about their skills to group them for this show?

The selection, made by Aravin Sandran of Neighborhood, was done on the basis of singer-songwriters whose work was recognized for its poetry and lyricism, exploring songwriting as a literary form in and of itself.

The range of shows itself stretches quite far — was there any consideration into the kind of audiences you’re hoping to tune into Night Spin?

​We just wanted to reach out to a wide range of interests so there really is something for everyone — whether you like theatre, music, literary conversations, poetry readings or podcasts. We consciously chose and developed the programmes based on this range.


Singapore Writers Festival 2020 is happening from Oct 30 to Nov 8. More information can be found here.