Listening to Complexity | Read! Fest

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Psychologist and writer Lydia Kwa talks about learning to listen to complexity.

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About the Programme/Event

Not to be able to tell your story, to be silenced and shut out, therefore is to be dehumanised… In losing our voice, something in us dies. 

-from Elif Shafak's How to Stay Sane in an Age of Division

In an increasingly technologically wired world, there seems to be a rise in the tendency to hold simplistic, reductionistic pronouncement about the lives of others; and a struggle with listening to complexity. How does listening play a role in holding space?

When we engage as writers and readers, an openhearted and openminded approach allows us to hear the nuances and layers of complexity in our characters and those found in others' writing. Language can be a beautiful thing, but it has also been used as a weapon to silence and suppress others. How do we listen? How does a writer "hold space" for the stories waiting to be heard?

In this talk by psychologist and writer Lydia Kwa, she will talk about learning to listen to complexity.

About the Speaker

Lydia Kwa was born in Singapore but now lives in Canada, on the unceded and traditional territories of the Coast Salish peoples. She has published four novels, two books of poetry and two chapbooks.

Title Tie-up

This programme is inspired by How to Stay Sane in an Age of Division, a Read! Fest featured title. Borrow the title here.

For other programmes related to this title, visit

For the full listing of Read! Fest programmes, visit

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About Read! Fest 2021

Read! Fest 2021 invites you on a forward-looking journey of self-discovery. With the theme of Reboot, take a moment to re-examine and refresh your lenses on day-to-day aspects that shape our lives.

Anchored by 12 key books and topics, Read! Fest will host over 60 programmes – from talks by world-renowned authors to workshops and experiences – each curated to immerse you in a world of thoughtful ideas for our time.

From myths and minimalism to work and womanhood, stretch out to explore new worlds and perspectives. Where will you find yourself?

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Online Programme/Event Administrative Information

  •  This programme is conducted entirely online. You may access Zoom via the app or using a web browser.
  • Please ensure that you enter a valid email address as you will receive an email with the link to the online programme/event near the day of the programme/event.
  • The link of the programme should not be shared with others.
  • Do ensure you have a strong internet connection. Using your mobile data is not recommended.
  • The National Library Board, Singapore (NLB) reserves the right in its absolute discretion to disqualify or refuse admission to any registrant without any reason and notice.
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Organiser GoLibrary | National Library Board, Singapore

Organiser of Listening to Complexity | Read! Fest

The National Library Board (NLB) manages a network of 27 public libraries, the National Library and the National Archives of Singapore. NLB promotes reading, learning and information literacy by providing a trusted, accessible and globally-connected library and information service through the National Library and a comprehensive network of Public Libraries.

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