Sharlene Teo’s portrayal of Singapore in her award-winning debut novel, Ponti, is as rich and vivid as the stories of the three women that she writes. Here, Sharlene shares some of her favourite recent Singaporean books, and the authors who have influenced her as a writer.
Singapore has a burgeoning literary scene that is as dynamic and reflective of the constantly evolving cityscape as it is varied. I started writing poetry when I was thirteen, inspired and moved by local writers such as Alfian Sa’at, Cyril Wong, Ho Poh Fun and Heng Siok Tian. Presently, publishers such as Maths Paper Press and Ethos Books champion the work of contemporary poets such as Theophilius Kwek, Pooja Nansi and Joshua Ip. The Singaporean literary map is ever expanding, and all the richer and more unexpected or genre bending for it. For fans of speculative literary fiction, JY Yang, Rachel Heng, Daryl Qilin Yam and Thea Lim all have recent or forthcoming works. If you enjoy historical fiction, writers such as Vyvyanne Loh and Sandi Tan have woven rich narratives around the large-scale traumas of the Second World War and decolonisation in innovative and surprising ways.
I could go on, but for the sake of brevity, here are six of my favourite recent Singaporean titles: