Friday, May 22, 2009

READ! Singapore 2009

It's back!

The annual reading initiative was launched by the NLB on Friday morning, 22 May 09, at the Conrad Hotel (the hotel is one of the main sponsors):
READ! Singapore 2009 launch

From the NLB press release, 22 May 09
Exciting New Initiatives To Reach Out To Families And Youths Through READ! Singapore 2009
Release Date : 22 May 2009
  • The iconic event returns with a series of new activities and book discussions to enhance the reading experience of Singaporeans
  • Highlights include the inaugural “Youth Writers Awards Asia 2010” and 144-hour Reading Marathon

SINGAPORE, 22 May 2009 – The National Library Board (NLB) today officially launched READ! Singapore 2009, the iconic nationwide reading initiative that aims to promote a culture of reading fiction among Singaporeans. In its fifth year, READ! Singapore is aptly themed “Dreams and Choices” to encourage Singaporeans to stay focused on their goals during these challenging times.

In line with the theme, the READ! Singapore Steering Committee has selected eight novels and eight short stories in the four official languages, written by well-known local and international authors. The selected novels and short stories explore the choices made by the characters in their journey to fulfil their dreams. Each of the short stories is translated into the other three languages and compiled into four anthologies to encourage Singaporeans to read across cultures and communities.

From 22 May to 31 August this year, Singaporeans can look forward to a host of exciting reading activities at various locations islandwide. For the first time, READ! Singapore will hold a Singapore record-setting event with a 144-hour Reading Marathon. Participants will form teams of not more than 12 members to read the selected READ! Singapore literary works or other stories of their choice for a continuous period of six hours per team. After completing six hours, each team will pass the baton to the next team to continue the reading marathon. The event will run from 3 to 9 July at The Plaza, National Library Building.

Additionally, READ! Singapore is reaching out to youths in the region with the inaugural “Youth Writers Awards Asia 2010”. Organised in partnership with Reader's Digest, this short story writing competition is held in celebration of Singapore hosting the Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games. Youths aged 13 to 17 years can participate by submitting short stories on the theme, “Dare to Dream: Stories of Imagination, Passion and Sporting Excellence”. Winning entries will be selected and published in a book to be distributed to athletes during the Youth Olympic Games in Singapore next year as part of the national effort to promote sporting excellence.

“Through READ! Singapore, we hope to reach out to not only Singaporeans, and also youths in the region to build bonds through a shared love for reading. READ! Singapore can be a platform to inspire all Singaporeans to reflect on their priorities in life, explore new horizons and work towards their dreams,” said Ms Ngian Lek Choh, Deputy Chief Executive, NLB.

The selected short stories have also been produced into audio books for Singaporeans who are not able to experience the joy of reading a book due to age, illiteracy or handicap, to participate in the READ! Singapore book discussions. The audio books feature forewords by RAdm (NS) Lui Tuck Yew, Acting Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts, in English; Mr Gan Kim Yong, Minister for Manpower, in Chinese; Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, in Malay; and Mr S Iswaran, Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry, and Education, in Tamil. The short stories are narrated by popular media personalities from local radio stations including 938LIVE, Capital 95.8FM, Warna 94.2FM and Oli 96.8FM.

3,000 copies of audio books in the four languages will be distributed to voluntary welfare organisations such as the Singapore Association of the Visually Handicapped and Sunshine Welfare Action Mission Home.

For more information on READ! Singapore 2009, please visit:

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