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Singapore Hot Takes

Contemporary writers from Singapore look at issues like craft, reading, influence, community, and ethics.

"I think it’s my hunger for approbation that’s driven me to continue writing to this day."
"Singaporean literature has finally come out of its consciously postcolonial shell, and I love that."
"I try to tell stories of Singapore through the eyes of the small Tamil community in English, and put Tamil heroes and heroines at the front of these stories."
"The thought of eventually writing a book was on my mind, of course, but I always thought I’d do it when I was old and wise and had suffered enough."
"For me, the emotions are so deep and intense that the only way to survive is to find a way to articulate them so I do not drown within an ocean of my own making."
"Art for art’s sake is a valid, valued enterprise here; it was not always this way."
"I wanted to write about how the diaspora experience influences these women and adds to their complicated relationship to a country that at once feels like the motherland, but also seems foreign and confounding."
"I want to write novels that the teenage me wished had existed..."
"I remember clearly my mother bringing me and my sister to the public library quite often, and nearly every time I exited with an armload of new books."
"Reading for me was very private, the most real of realities but impossible to truly discuss with people around me..."
"I came to write because no other thing came to me quite as easily or willingly or honestly."
"This idea of liminality, of negotiating and mapping spaces between Singapore and Australia, between home and elsewhere, is something that has given me a new direction and focus..."
"Over time, I began to return to my cultural roots and my writing evolved to be a way to explore and critically examine my immediate social realities..."
"Translation is a work of art and a labour of love."
"What I’ve learned to do is turn down the volume on that voice, so that it is soft enough to not undermine me, but loud enough to keep me critical of my own work."
"In time, more and more poets have started to write more honestly and poignantly about their own lives. I hope this means that the ecosystem here has become more diverse."
"A lightbulb moment I must have had at an early age was looking at a book and thinking, “I can do this too.”"
"Literature is a door. Not one a carpenter gathers wood for, but one that writers screw into your head, as you read by your easy chair or bed."
"It is possible that writing has to be something in you like breathing because that may be what it takes for you to keep doing it and to persevere in sending out your work for publication."
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