The trip was insanely busy, and so much fun that I didn’t want to leave when it was over. Warning: selfies abound. (Photo credits can be found on my Facebook profile.)
Arrival in NYC, greeted with a big smile and bigger hug from my sister Kristin.
First New York breakfast, at Café Bene in Washington Heights
SFWA Reception at The Manhattan Penthouse, where I got to see some old friends, including the very talented Eugene “E.C.” Myers.
Visit to Forbidden Planet; this little comic zine was about the Friday the 13th baddie, but I couldn’t resist the chance to be a narcissistic twit. (Later, I also visited Midtown Comics, as well as the Avenger’s S.T.A.T.I.O.N. at Times Square, but didn’t get any photos.)
Visit to The Strand, one of my favorite bookstores in the world; I found an out-of-print hardcover of Milorad Pavić’s novel The Dictionary of the Khazars (Female Edition).
Lunch at The Hummus & Pita Co. with good friend (and awesome writer) Jonathan Wood.
Belated birthday dinner with Kristin at Uncle Nick’s Greek Cuisine; we of course had to order the saganaki.
Morning critique session at Books of Wonder with Juliet Ulman, who gave me such insightful editorial feedback on my novella The Diary of One Who Disappeared that I’m still absorbing it.
PEN Member Mingle at Prohibition, where I chatted to novelist Daniel Akst, and Kristin was a huge hit.
Visit with my Aunt Elise; we had dinner at Vamos al Tequila in Brooklyn before my reading at WORD.
Front display at WORD Brooklyn, featuring books by me, Alvin Pang, and Cyril Wong.
“What Writing Means in Singapore” at WORD Brooklyn; Alvin, me, Cyril.
Reading “Occupy: An Exhibition” from Red Dot Irreal.
Post-reading group pic: The Butcher, The Baker, The Candlestick Maker (according to Alvin).
Visit to the Brooklyn Superhero Supply Company, where I found a cape, mask, “energy-boosting” bracelet, and Jovian-fronted tee-shirt for Anya.
“The Local Cosmopolitan” at Book Culture, which doubled as the Singapore Literature Festival opening party; I read “Taxi Ride” from Red Dot Irreal.
Post-event photo by Tim Tomlinson; this is what relief and exhaustion looks like.
Talking to Cyril before the start of the day of panels at the 92nd Street Y, where I was thankfully only an audience member.
The packed, and quite diverse, audience at 92Y; here’s poet Eric Thomas Norris asking a profound question.
The book signing/mingling at the end of the day; me, Kirstin Chen and Christine Chia.
“Reading Culture” at Book Culture (again, but what a great store); I read from “Always a Risk” from The Alchemy of Happiness.
“Encore” at McNally Jackson Books, which doubled as the closing party. I read (and mostly avoided stumbling over my words in) “Bachy Soletanche” from Red Dot Irreal. This is a post-event group photo with the festival authors who were left (some had to leave early), as well as the organizers, Jee and Paul.
Got to finally connect with Amanda Lee Koe after this event and talk to her about her MFA program at Columbia, and her Singapore Literature Prize shortlisted collection Ministry of Moral Panic. Above: Amanda, Sarah Tang, Joshua Ip; Below: me, Amanda, Cyril.
Washington Heights on my last day in NYC, a fantastic neighborhood on Manhattan’s upper west side. I left late that night from JFK.
In transit, at Hamad International Airport in Doha, during a seven-hour layover. It was a looooooong flight home.
So, yeah, it was an amazing experience, and I had an incredible blast in the city of my birth. I really hope I’ll be able to get back there again soon.