As we reflect on an eventful year for Singapore arts and literature, let us sit back and set aside our political differences and appreciate good writing for what it is.
Here are the 8 most celebrated local literary publications of 2015 and why you should give them a shot or gift a copy to your book-loving friends and family.
1. UNION: 15 Years of Drunken Boat, 50 Years of Writing From Singapore edited by Alvin Pang and Ravi Shankar
Look no further than UNION to be relieved of all the official state narratives that you have been accosted relentlessly by.
Combining 15 years of celebrated literary journal Drunken Boat‘s history with 50 years of esteemed Singaporean writing, editors Alvin Pang and Ravi Shankar expertly weave together an anthology that traverses the boundaries of time, space and language.
2. The Adopted: Stories from the Angkor by Heng Siok Tian, Phan Ming Yen, Yong Shu Hoong and Yeow Kai Chai
What do you get when you cross a holiday with four writers?
A motley of short stories that engages with the same locale (Siem Reap) but with different eyes. Whether to reminisce your time at the Angkor Wat or simply to vicariously live out a Cambodian experience through these writers’ experiences, The Adopted would no doubt suit you.
3. It Never Rains on National Day by Jeremy Tiang
There’s something inherently disparate yet diverse about the way we choose to tell our stories, and It Never Rains on National Day is no exception.
Be plunged into the shoes of various characters located all around the world, all united by the titular occasion, as Tiang invites us to reconsider what it means to have a sense of belonging.
4. These Foolish Things & Other Stories by Yeo Wei Wei
Yeo’s debut collection of stories harbour hopes, desires and regrets in the events of the mundane.
If you stopped to look a little closer, the everyday becomes less boring than you think.
5. Big Mole by Ming Cher
When Spider Boys was first released in 1995, it made waves in the local literary scene with its bold depictions of street boys pitting spiders against each other against a backdrop of Singapore in the 1950s.
This long-awaited sequel, set in the same period, charts the grownups’ attempts to navigate the same seedy underbelly of secret societies with a nostalgia that is not contrived.
6. For the End Comes Reaching by David Wong
One of two books launched at the end of Ten Year Series’s inaugural manuscript bootcamp, For the End Comes Reaching is a collection that contemplates themes of love, guilt, death, possibility, redemption and faith. Enter a new voice of poetry on the horizon.
7. Deeds of Light by Tse Hao Guang
The other publication, Deeds of Light, deploys a prismatic examination of urban Singapore.
Through words that introduce a kaleidoscope of perspectives, allow yourself the introspective exploration of culture and identity in Tse’s debut full-length collection.
8. Steep Tea by Koh Jee Leong
Steep Tea is Koh’s first collection to be published in the UK and was recently featured on The Financial Times’ Best Poetry of 2015 list.
As he speaks of learning how to negotiate with his identity after moving out from Singapore, his latest book comes to be a reflection on that part of his journey.
Read our 2014 reviews here:
Top photo from BooksActually Facebook page.