This story was first published on August 31, 2020, and updated on April 22, 2021.
Singapore's literary scene has flourished in recent years. To help you keep up to date with the latest developments—and the talents you need to keep your eye on—we tap on six insiders in the literary arts to share their three picks for Singapore literature: one classic, one new release and one wildcard title, along with why they have chosen the books.
Kamini Ramachandran, Master Storyteller And Director Of MoonShadow Stories
CLASSIC: Let Me Tell You Something About That Night by Cyril Wong
“This collection of short stories is, I think, Cyril’s first published prose work. The fairy tales are so poignant and ethereal—the kind of stories that require you to suspend disbelief and surrender to the rhythm of Cyril’s words. I’ve performed The Boy with the Flower that Grew Out of His Ass [one of the stories from the book] a few times before—the highlight being in October 2019 at the Southbank Centre for London Literature Festival, as part of Cake Theatre’s interpretative work of Singapore literature.”
NEW: Beauty Queens of Bishan by Akshita Nanda
“A rich tapestry of women’s stories that makes for binge-reading. Akshita has an ear for conversations and little nuggets of truth that resonate with people on a personal level. I knew Akshita when she was writing this book—and couldn’t wait for her to complete it!”
WILD CARD: The Short Stories and Radio Plays of S Rajaratnam by S Rajaratnam and edited by Irene Ang
“Few people know that one of our founding fathers was also a man of letters. This collection of plays and short stories offer a glimpse into Malaysia and Singapore of the past. The stories are not easy ... nor are they meant to be entertaining. They reveal the complications of being human and prompt us to think of ourselves. I’ve performed an adaptation of The Tiger and it remains one of the most powerful stories I’ve told. A heavily pregnant woman finds herself face to face with a tiger in the jungle ... ”