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Aug 29, 2009

Book Talk by Felix Cheong


Finding New Villians for Tween Novels with Felix Cheong

Saturday, 28 August, 4:30 - 6:00 pm
Multipurposes Room, B1
Central Public Library

Bored with Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys' mysteries? Award-winning Singapore writer Felix Cheong has the answers for a new generation of "tween" readers.

In his two detective novels set in Singapore, The Call from Crying House and the sequel, The Woman in the Last Carriage, he gets down and dirty with new villians - terrorists.


Source: NLB
Photos courtesy of Miss Athena AZIZ, NLB

Felix shared his experience of writing the stories and reads extracts from the novels

Heard of Warren Barfield's "The singer not the song"?

The lyrics are found  here

Would "The writer not the story" be an appropriate poem title which Felix could write on?   It doesn't sound poetic though.

On a hot Saturday afternoon, I would usually be taking my siesta at home if there is nothing better for me to do.

Today is different. I made a trip to the National Library to attend Felix Cheong's talk about his books "The Call from Crying House" and the sequel "Woman in the Last Carriage".

I had already registered online at NLB'S  Experience Singapore Literature   website several weeks ago to attend the talk. It is open to the public and admission is free.

It is not every day that I had the chance to listen to an award-winning local writer speak in public.

Sleep can wait...but no, I don't have to lose sleep. I took a long distance bus ride and slept on the journey from home. I arrived at the library wide awake and still looking fresh, the heat not withstanding : )

According to Wiki, the definition of "tween" is preadolescence - the stage between middle childhood and adolescence in human development, generally in the age range of 10 to 12 years of age.

I am long past that age range, and detective stories do not have as much appeal to me now as when I was a "tween". I last read Sherlock Holmes detective stories decades ago. These days, scifi books by Carl Sagan is still my all-time favorite. I guess I am a futuristic person who wallows in fond memories of the past, but living in the present in real life because the other two realms exist only in the mind. Is this what they call "back to the future"?

Reading without thoughts can certainly affect the brain, and I am getting a little confused : )

Knowing that I would not live long enough to see the futuristic world of Carl Sagan's Cosmos in my lifetime, I am curious to learn how the new generation readers find intriguing in detective stories written by Felix Cheong as compared to the adventure and detective stories by Enid Blyton in a different era, during my young days.

British author Enid Blyton writes about the English countryside, the meadows and the farms, description of the children biking in the moonlight, and eating sandwiches as they rode through the night; a world where ginger beer flows and ham rolls are a staple diet. Some of her stories were based on Dorset's "Blue Pool". and other places in England which I knew nothing about. Reading these Enid Blyton books developed in me a craving for most things and chip, ginger beer, sandwiches and "God Saves the Queen".

Not any more. Its "Majullah Singapura" now!

The National Anthem, not the food, I mean. I still love the fish and chip, ginger beer and sandwiches though.

Local born and bred Felix Cheong writes from a Singaporean perspective.

From the talk, I understand that Felix did some groundwork and research on local places (Jalan Hajijah near Bayshore, Bishan), through people watching, props and also interviewed tweens (11 to 15 year old) in Singapore to understand their perceptions and NextGen lingo such as "cool" - and mesh them into the books he wrote.

Interesting, isn't it? Makes me feel like turning back the clock and be a "tween" again : )

More about Felix Cheong can be found here .

Felix Cheong reading extracts from his novel
Fortunately I was shot while jotting notes...not caught napping ; )

Sent from my Treo 650



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