Writing the City

Writing the City The Arts House National Arts Council spacer British Council

Writing the City is supported by a panel of acclaimed local and international writers including Singapore Literature Prize winner Suchen Christine Lim and UK novelist Jeremy Sheldon.  Together with the online community, our Writers’ Panel will select the best works submitted to our competitions held throughout the year.

Alfian bin Sa’at

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Alfian bin Sa’at is a Resident Playwright with W!LD RICE, one of Singapore’s most recognised theatre companies. His published works include two collections of poetry, a collection of short stories and two collections of plays. Alfian has been nominated six times for Best Script at the Life! Theatre Awards, eventually winning in 2005 for his play, Landmarks, and later in 2010 for his play, Nadirah. His plays have been translated into German and Swedish and have been read and performed in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, London, Zurich, Hamburg, Berlin and Stockholm.

Julia Bell

Julia Bell is a novelist and Senior Lecturer on the MA Creative Writing at Birkbeck, University of London. She is the author of three novels: Massive (Picador 2002), Dirty Work (Picador 2007) and Wise Up and the Creative Writing Coursebook (Macmillan, 2002).

Hwee Peng, Chia

Chia Hwee Pheng (1957–), writes under the pe name of Xi Ni Er (希尼尔), has won the NBDCS Book Awards (1990 & 1994) and the Singapore Literature Prize (2008). He was the recipient of the National Cultural Medallion in 2008 and the Southeast Asia Write Award in 2009. He has published 8 books including “Kidnapping Times” (poetry) and “The Unbearable Heaviness of Life” (mini-fiction). He is currently President of the Singapore Association of Writers.

Dave Chua

Dave Chua, author of the graphic novel, Gone Case, was the recipient of the Singapore Literature Prize Commendation Award in 1996. He currently works as a freelance writer. His work, entitled Father’s Gift, made him a joint winner for the SPH-NAC Golden Point Award for the short story category in 1995. Chua is actively involved as a programming manager with the Singapore Film Society.

Melissa de Villiers

Melissa de Villiers is a writer, editor, and the co-ordinator of Writing the City. She gained a Masters Degree in Creative Writing with Distinction from Birkbeck College, University of London. Her fiction has appeared in several international journals, including the Mechanics’ Institute Review. She is currently completing a book of short stories set in South Africa’s Eastern Cape, where she grew up.

Isa Kamari

Isa Kamari has written seven novels in Malay: Satu Bumi, Kiswah, Tawassul, Menara, Atas Nama Cinta, Memeluk Gerhana and Rawa. Three have been translated into English: One Earth (Satu Bumi), Intercession (Tawassul) and Nadra (Atas Nama Cinta). He has also published two collections of poems, Sumur Usia and Munajat Sukna; a collection of short stories, Sketsa Minda; and a collection of theatre scripts, Pintu. Isa was conferred the S.E.A. Write Award (2006), the Cultural Medallion, the highest Arts Awards in Singapore (2007), and the Anugerah Tun Seri Lanang, the highest Malay Literary Award in Singapore (2009).

K Kanagalatha (Latha)

Kanagalatha (Latha) has published two collections of poetry in Tamil: Firespace (2003) and A Screwpine in the Snakeforest (2004). Her collection of short stories, (Women / Murder; 2007), won the Singapore Literature Prize for Fiction in 2008. Her poems and short stories have appeared in Words, Home and Nation (1995), a multilingual anthology by the Centre for the Arts, NUS; the National Arts Council’s Rhythms (2000), Fifty on 50 and Tumasik (2009), and in various literary journals in India, Malaysia, France and Sri Lanka. Her poems have also appeared on MRT trains in Singapore.

Madeleine Lee

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Madeleine Lee has published six volumes of poetry, including y grec (2005) co-written with Eleanor Wong, Synaesthesia (2008) and one point six one eight (2013). Her work has been adapted for short films and dance and full length theatre productions, and has also been selected for more than five anthologies.

Madeleine initiated N.O.R.A., an e-repository of Singapore literature launched in January 2005 by the National Library. She was panel speaker at the Singapore Ministry of Education (MoE) organised ‘Falling in Love with Words’ symposium in June 2006 and conducted a poetry workshop in the MoE Creative Arts Programme in May 2007. She has read at literature festivals in Singapore, KL, Ubud, Jakarta, Palembang, Melbourne, Adelaide and Taipei and conducted poetry workshops in many schools.

Suchen Christine Lim

Suchen Christine Lim, the inaugural Singapore Literature Prize winner, has written 5 novels, a short play, 15 children’s books for schools, several short stories published in Singapore and international journals and anthologies, and a non-fiction work on the Chinese overseas. Her collection of short stories, The Lies That Build A Marriage: Stories of the Unsaid, Unsung & Uncelebrated in Singapore, was shortlisted for the Singapore Literature Prize in 2008. Her most recent novel is The River’s Song. She has led creative writing workshops for the British Council and the Arvon Foundation, one of the UK’s leading creative writing organisations and has held several writing residencies in the US, Australia, UK, South Korea and the Philippines. Recently, she was a Visiting Fellow in Creative Writing in the Nanyang Technological University (NTU). Her author’s homepage is www.suchenchristinelim.com

Helen Mangham

Helen works at the Singapore-based literary agency, Jacaranda, where she is helping to build a dedicated list of Singapore writers. As part of her role with Jacaranda, Helen attends the Frankfurt and London Book Fairs and meets with international publishers from the UK and US. Helen started her career in London, at Curtis Brown Literary Agency, and has also worked within the publicity departments of a number of the UK’s leading publishing companies. She worked for independent book publicity company, Belinda Harley Associates, helping to devise and implement publicity campaigns for high-profile books such as Michael Chabon’s The Mysteries of Pittsburgh and Andrew Morton’s controversial biography of Princess Diana. Other authors she has worked with include Deborah Moggach, John Julius Norwich and Chinua Achebe.

Pooja Nansi

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Pooja Nansi is a teacher and poet who believes in the power that speech and performance can lend to the written word.Her first collection of poetry Stiletto Scars was published in 2007 at the Singapore Writers’ Festival.

She has performed and conducted workshops in several educational institutes both locally and abroad (including in Kuala Lumpur and London) with individuals of different ages, to try and make poetry relevant to their lives. She has also participated in poetry projects such as ‘Speechless’ with the British Council, where she worked in conjunction with poets from London, Ireland, Taiwan, The Phillipines, Malaysia and Vietnam and engaged in a month long tour of the UK to explore issues surrounding freedom of speech. She is most passionate about using poetry as a platform to raise awareness about issues close to her heart.

Yi-Sheng, Ng

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Ng Yi-Sheng is a full-time writer whose controversial literary works have garnered much critical acclaim. He writes poetry, drama, non-fiction, fiction, slam, journalism and criticism. In 2008, Yi-Sheng won the Singapore Literature Prize for his debut poetry collection, last boy, while his non-fiction book, SQ21: Singapore Queers in the 21st Century, went on the 2006 bestseller list. His plays have been staged to acclaim by various theatre groups such as TheatreWorks, Toy Factory Theatre, W!ld Rice and Musical Theatre Singapore. He currently teaches creative writing at Nanyang Technological University and co-organises the SPORE Art Salon, a monthly showcase of poets, performers and other artists.

Alvin Pang

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Alvin Pang is currently Editor of Ethos, an internationally circulated public policy journal, among other publications. He also advises institutions in Singapore and abroad on literary and cultural issues. He is a founding director of WORDFEAST, Singapore’s first international poetry festival, and of The Literary Centre, a non-profit organisation promoting interdisciplinary capacity, multilingual communication and positive social change. A Fellow of the Iowa International Writing Program, his writing has been featured in major publications, productions and festivals in the US, UK, Europe, Australia and Asia.

Duncan Rose

Duncan Rose is a Senior Teacher (Secondary) at the British Council Singapore. He received his teaching qualification in Bristol in 1998 and has been teaching for 12 years; lecturing in universities in UK, Japan and Turkey. He is currently pursuing his Doctorate in Education. His hobbies include movies, music, science fiction, and quirky, unusual and eccentric TV shows.

Steven Shaw

Steven Shaw is a Senior Teacher (Adults) at the British Council Singapore. He also runs the monthly Book Club, where students meet to discuss their book of the month. He graduated in German Language & Literature at Manchester University in 1966, then spent 30 years teaching languages, English and Media Studies to secondary students in New Zealand. His interests include classical music, reading, various sports and gardening. The last thing in the world he wants to do is retire!

Jeremy Sheldon

Jeremy Sheldon is an author, a script-editor and tutor of creative writing. Jeremy has led fiction workshops for the Arvon Foundation and Spread the Word in the UK; both are UK’s leading creative writing organisations. He has also taught internationally for organisations such as the Geneva Writers’ Conference and the British Council in Singapore. Jeremy is the author of two works of fiction published by Jonathan Cape, The Comfort Zone and The Smiling Affair, as well as a number of anthologised short stories. Jeremy continues to work as a script editor and development consultant, having spent seven years as a script-reader for several film production companies.

Daren Shiau

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Daren Shiau is a fiction writer and lawyer in private practice. His award-winning novel, Heartland (1999) has been cited by the travel guide Lonely Planet as the ‘definitive Singapore novel’ and selected by the country’s government as a Cambridge O-Level textbook from 2007. Daren was named the National Arts Council’s Young Artist of the Year in 2002 and has been invited to read in New York, Boston, London and Sydney. Besides Heartland, he has published Peninsular: Archipelagos and Other Islands (2000), a poetry collection and Velouria (2007), a seminal micro-fiction volume. Daren’s influences include musician Nick Drake and illustrator Adrian Tomine.

Phil Tatham

Phil is the publisher at Monsoon Books Pte Ltd, a leading English-language trade publisher of books and ebooks in Asia. A former Executive Committee member of the Singapore Book Publishers’ Association (SBPA), former Assistant Honorary Secretary of the SBPA and a former Chairperson of the Website Subcommittees of the SPBA and the ASEAN Book Publishers’ Association, Phil has over fifteen years’ experience in the print and digital book publishing industries. He is a regular grant assessment panellist for Singapore’s National Arts  Council, a panel member on the Singapore Writers Festival 2013 Steering Committee and an active and respected member of the regional publishing community.

Eleanor Wong

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Eleanor Wong is trained as a lawyer but is as accomplished as a writer and playwright in Singapore. Her plays have been produced in Singapore and regionally. She is best known for dealing with controversial subjects like identity and sexuality. Eleanor has also contributed 12 poems to y grec (2005), which she co-authored with Madeleine Lee. On top of this, this lawyer-cum-lecturer also provides communications consultancy and holds several top management portfolios within the television production arena. She has anchored a television current affairs show After Hours. In The Campaign to Confer Public Service Star on JBJ (2007), she satirises politics.

Alfian bin Sa’at

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Alfian bin Sa’at is a Resident Playwright with W!LD RICE, one of Singapore’s most recognised theatre companies. His published works include two collections of poetry, a collection of short stories and two collections of plays. Alfian has been nominated six times for Best Script at the Life! Theatre Awards, eventually winning in 2005 for his play, Landmarks, and later in 2010 for his play, Nadirah. His plays have been translated into German and Swedish and have been read and performed in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, London, Zurich, Hamburg, Berlin and Stockholm.