NLB’s Read! Fest to be held Jun 23 – Jul 16; programme line-up includes free market, panel discussions, workshops

The programme, which draws inspiration from 12 book titles, will offer 70 activities for visitors.

Chloe Tham

Chooses to watch the same three movies in rotation instead of catching a new one.

Published: 20 June 2023, 6:20 PM

A free market, panel discussions and workshops are part of the 70 activities at this year’s run of Read! Fest, hosted by the National Library Board. The event will be held from Jun 23 to Jul 16.

The programme draws inspiration from 12 key book titles, which range from topics such as climate change, navigating friendships and fighting systemic injustice.

Here is what visitors can expect from the programme:

1. Exchange your things at the Really Really Free Market (Jul 9)

Where goods and services are shared instead of bought and sold, the Singapore Really Really Free Market allows visitors to make a positive impact on the environment by reducing waste.

This activity is based on one of the featured titles of the programme, The Most Important Comic Book on Earth by Rewriting Extinction. The book is a global collaboration among various environmentalists, artists, authors, actors, filmmakers, musicians, and more for planetary change.


The Singapore Really Really Free Market holds events at various locations in Singapore throughout the year. PHOTO CREDIT: FACEBOOK/SINGAPORE REALLY REALLY FREE MARKET


Visitors should bring along items that they would like to give away. There will be giveaways and exchanges of pre-loved items, so attendees may discover new treasures at the market.

Held on Jul 9 from 2pm to 6pm, the market will be located at the National Library Events Plaza. Reservations for the event can be made via Eventbrite.

2. Participate in hands-on workshops (Jun 23 to Jul 16)

There will be several workshops available throughout the duration of the programme. 

Some of them include a letter-writing workshop conducted by author Felix Cheong, a silent tea appreciation experience held by HUSH’s hearing-impaired ‘TeaRistas’ and a Malay dance workshop led by assistant curator of the Malay Performing Arts Collective, Lyn Hanis Rezuan.


Reservation slots for the HUSH Teabar experience will open from Jun 24. PHOTO CREDIT: WELLNESS FESTIVAL SINGAPORE


Each of these workshops correspond with the featured book titles – Oh William! by Elizabeth Strout, Beneath the Rug by Solve n+1 and Kerusi Rantai Celung Keramat by Wan Jumaiah Mohd Jubri respectively.

More workshops can be found via the National Library’s website.

3. Attend various panel discussions (Jun 23 to Jul 16)

From dialogue sessions about self-improvement to conversations with the New York Times bestselling authors, there are over 40 discussions to attend virtually and in-person.

A highlight includes a conversation with American writer and psychotherapist Lori Gottlieb, whose novel is one of the featured titles of Read! Fest – Maybe You Should Talk To Someone.


Maybe You Should Talk To Someone by Lori Gottlieb has sold over a million copies and is now being adapted into a television series. PHOTO CREDIT: LORI GOTTLIEB, GOODREADS


Other highlights include discussions about the use of comics in Singapore’s society, using conflict to strengthen fictional characters and using arts as a tool for social change.

Some discussions at the programme are offered in various languages such as Mandarin, Malay and Tamil. Interested participants may reserve slots for panel discussions via Eventbrite.

Slots for certain activities have been fully redeemed. The venues for each activity ranges, with some held online while others are physical. 

The full programme lineup can be found via the National Library’s website.

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