A Singapore tradition: The Raffles Hotel Writer’s Residency Program
Raffles Hotel Singapore has announced its plans to continue its legendary literary tradition that began as far back as 1887, when renowned writers and novelists such as the likes of Rudyard Kipling and Joseph Conrad stayed with the prestigious hotel. Following the reopening of the iconic property in August after a careful and sensitive restoration, Raffles Hotel Singapore introduces its new Writer’s Residency Programme and welcomes back the Writers Bar, paying tribute to the illustrious authors who have resided at the hotel since the 1900.
Established as a tribute to the wordsmiths that have come through the doors of Raffles Hotel Singapore over the years and as a tribute to enlivening the literary heritage, is the iconic Writers Bar. Located in the Grand Lobby, the Writers Bar has now been expanded to a full bar and is decked in luxuriously appointed furnishings, lovingly curated mementos and books, referencing the literary legacy of Raffles.
Led by a team of skilled mixologists, Writers Bar serves wines, spirits and bespoke craft cocktails that are created in celebration of the art of the written word. To celebrate the hotel’s first Writer-in-Residence, the team has created a series of cocktails that are inspired by Pico Iyer and his work, This Could Be Home. Kept exclusive to residents and restaurant patrons (with prior reservations), the bar is a sophisticated and serene refuge for discreet elegance and intimate conversations.
“Raffles Hotel Singapore has long played muse to renowned and budding writers alike. The Writer’s Residency Programme is set to reinvigorate the literary heritage that is embedded deeply in the Raffles ethos. With the purpose of nurturing future writing talents, the programme looks to deliver inspiration within the unique spaces of the restored Raffles Hotel Singapore, particularly with the refreshed Writers Bar. Both the programme and bar play a part in our continued commitment to connect the past and present through the art of writing, while paying homage to our famous literacy luminaries.” said Christian Westbeld, General Manager, Raffles Hotel Singapore.
The inaugural Writer’s Residency Programme is a new initiative designed to create and nurture a pipeline of creative writing talents and engage writers with a record of creative excellence, inspiring and stimulating them to new literary works. As part of the programme, the hotel will host up to two writers annually for up to four weeks, with the specific duration dependent on the type of work being commissioned. Surrounded by the charming colonial architectural backdrop and with its distinctive elements, the newly restored Raffles Singapore provides a unique environment that is gives writers the opportunity to retreat, reflect and draw inspiration from the 132-year-old stories held within the walls of the hotel.
The programme is open to both local and international writers, aged 18 years old and above. All aspiring and established writers are invited to submit a proposed synopsis of their planned pieces for review by an appointed panel made up of Raffles Hotel Singapore representatives as well as highly-respected writers in the region.
The first invited Writer-in-Residence is British-born essayist and novelist, Pico Iyer, considered by many to be arguably the world’s greatest living travel writer. Drawing upon his many stays at the Raffles Hotel Singapore over the last 35 years, the bestselling author of more than a dozen books explores how Singapore and Raffles Hotel Singapore continued to evolve around history while meeting the ever-changing needs of people in his latest book, This Could Be Home: Raffles Hotel and the City of Tomorrow.
“Any writer who gets to be part of Raffles’ rich literary tradition considers himself fortunate to be following in such a distinguished line,” said Pico Iyer, “In my book, I posed a question if there is any hotel so inseparably linked with the city around it as Raffles. The fact remains that you can’t really say you’ve been to Singapore until you’ve stepped through the columned corridors of Raffles Hotel. I was very happy to get to spend time with many of the people who are bringing the hotel into a new century.”