They say that the pen is mightier than the sword, in the business of art and culture, Singapore rises to the challenge. Get acquainted with the emerging authors of Singapore’s literary scene with these six Singapore poets who are taking the world by storm.
1. Pooja Nansi
Pooja Nansi is Singapore’s first Youth Poet Ambassador, and role befits her. Nansi is a writing teacher at the Nanyang Technological University and has been active in the literary scene for more than a decade. Throughout this decade, Nansi’s literary career has seen a prolific outpour of published poetry, anthologies, and showcases for emerging artists, all while exploring important issues concerning personal and intimate themes such as identity and belonging. For a taste of her work, check out her collection of poems called Love is an Empty Barstool and Stiletto Scars.
2. Amanda Chong
With an impressive academic track behind her, Amanda Chong was trained in Cambridge and Harvard as a lawyer; she finds the time to write her poetry during her lunch hours, to the critical acclaim of enthusiasts and critics. Her poetry shows her mastery of the written word; she has won the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award and has had her poetry engraved on the Marina Bay Helix Bridge. Her poetry, often discussing the concepts of gender and power, has been published in the Monocle, the Straits Times, and the Quarterly Literary Review Singapore.
3. Alfian Sa’at
Considered as one of the most prolific authors in Singapore, Alfian Sa’at often brings up controversial concepts in his works, such as identity, race, and oppression. At the age twenty-one, he was able to publish his first collection of poetry, entitled One Fierce Hour, to critical acclaim. Alfian Sa’at has also penned a number of stories in other mediums, such as plays and short stories and has written a number of works in Malay, such as Dongeng and Minah & Moyet. His prolific literary career has also seen a large number of awards such as the 2001 Golden Point Award for Poetry and the 2001 Young Artist Award for Literature.
4. Marc Nair
A well-known name in the spoken word scene, Marc Nair is a poet who also dabbles in other forms of art such as photography and music. His literary career has seen five volumes of published poetry, including the clever and darkly delightful Animal City, a book of illustrated children’s poems—with a twist. If you would like a copy of Nair’s works, you could do so by getting a copy at Kinokuniya or Books Actually. Nair is also an active member of the Singapore literary scene, and often does workshops, talks, and spoken word performances; chances are you’d be able to see him at an event or two.