By Luciana Leitão

Since it started, it is one of my favourite events of the year. By now, you probably have guessed that I’m talking about The Script Road – Macau Literary Festival.

Every edition, I managed to fit some sessions into my schedule. I watched it grow, throughout the years. In the first edition, I was several times one of the few people in the audience, when the festival was still not well known. The following year I had to stand to watch some of my favourite authors talk about their works, their lives and their views. People finally knew something different was up in the city, and were finally adhering.

This year, I’ll be watching it more from a professional perspective, rather than simply as a book-lover. And this year, I have to say, it is by far the most ambitious programme. When preparing my homework for The Script Road and deciding which event would be more interesting to cover, I stopped at the almost 300 page programme and took a deep breath. They are all interesting.

It starts this weekend. Saturday, March 5, is the official opening day. It starts with a talk under the topic “What good is culture in the life of the common man”, with the Portuguese opinion-maker José Pacheco Pereira and the Taiwanese essayist and novelist Hu Ching-fang (known by Lolita Hu). The opening day finishes with the Berlinale nominee, the film “Letters from War”, by Portuguese director Ivo Ferreira, which was compared by the English newspaper The Guardian as Terrence Malicks’ “The Thin Red Line”.

On Sunday, March 6, it is a full day’s work, with sessions from 11 am to 8.30 pm. I would highlight the session with Chinese writers Yang Chia-hsien, Un Sio San and Zhou Jianing about contemporary literature of Macau, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Mainland China, as well as reporter Mark O’Neill’s session “Journey Through Chinese History – Heroic Men in Troubled Times”.

I’m not going to mention all the names and sessions that feature this year’s programme, but I must say I’m eager to hear Adam Johnson’s Pulitzer prize winner, as well as Mainland China’s literature reference Liu Xinwu, the Luso-Brazilian poet Matilde Campilho or the Portuguese author Ricardo Adolfo. Wait… What I am saying? The more than 40 names featured in this year’s programme seem all interesting.

Cheers to Ricardo Pinto and Hélder Beja for bringing such an exciting literary feast — that, actually, has become more than a literary festival, since it brings exhibitions, concerts, cinema and theatre to the city.

So, do you still think that in Macau nothing really culturally exciting happens? Think again.