2016 has been a productive year for me. Despite Brexit, Trump, the loss of David Bowie, Leonard Cohen, Carrie Fisher, and, possibly, the beginning of the end of life as we know it, 2016 was full of joyful, creative progress with lots of fun with our baby growing up. In this mixed up, sad, insane, dystopian world I was privileged to have lots to enjoy.
Some of the creative things I got up to included:
Sneaking into the green room, scrawling graffiti on the white board … and not being able to operate the capsule coffee machine were highlights … together with being on panels with Robin Hemley, Cathy Torres, Eric Tinsay Valles, Jeffrey Lim, Audrey Chin & Ng Yi-Sheng.
I am very happy with the way The Looker shaped up. I beta tested a romantic white saviour ending versus an open ended, lyrical ending … you'll have to read the story to see which ending I chose for The Looker
ALBRITS is not autobiographical, although it very well could be. This anti-love story ends with our arrogant protagonist bewildered and alone in a bed-sit in Bermondsey.
I want to do a whole book with photo stories like this one. The good news is that the worker's compensation claim was upheld in December 2016.
TINASB is edited by Marc Nair and Yen Phan. TINASB also includes a ruthless poem about the photographic gaze by Verena Tay inspired by one of my images ‘Old Man at Tekka Centre’.
More of my images inspiring Verena Tay’s poetry were published in Left-Right. This is a wonderful Singapore Photography book edited by Geraldine Kang and Kenneth Tan and I would recommend it to anyone unfamiliar with the quality and vision of Singaporean photographers and writers.
Thanks to Jee Leong Koh for publishing The Finger, available free on line at Singapore Poetry. Singapore Poetry is an important outlet for Singapore writers and provides fresh and intelligent views on Singapore literature.
Thanks to Amanda Lee Koe for publishing a story, The Model, in the April 2016 edition of Esquire magazine.
I really enjoyed taking part in this multi-media show. The Science Centre & SWF teams were extremely professional and easy to work with. I do hope they repeat the presentation in 2017.
Mr Chips eat your heart out. It’s hard work and a fascinating process trying to influence and persuade and communicate to people. Exhausting and very rewarding.
Writing the City is a monthly creative writing workshop community held at Toa Payoh library and supported by NLB and the British Council and run by Sing Lit Station.
We are looking for a sponsor if you are interested in helping us pay the facilitators and guest presenters.
Sing Lit Station has achieved a lot thanks to the hard work and talents of a large number of volunteers and interns and the leadership of Daryl Qilin Yam and Joshua Ip - and it's not even a year old. Watch out 2017 for more poetry, prose, bootcamps, workshops and zombies.
Images from the inaugural Sing Lit Station Prose Bootcamp with various writers, academics, publishers, and agents. Thanks to our four prose writers: Teoh Ren Jie, Clarissa Goenawan, Toh Hsien Min and Ng Yi-Sheng, and to the wonderful support from many of Singapore Literature's leaders and supporters including:
- Balli Kaur Jaswal
- Boey Kim Cheng
- JY Yang
- Ann Ang
- Alfian Sa’at
- Suning Kay
- Kenny Leck
- Ng Kah Gay
- Fong Hoe Fang
- Richard Angus Whitehead
- Darryl Whetter
- Neil Murphy
- Suzanne Choo
- Helen Mangham
- Cyril Wong
- Tania Leong
- Andrea Low
... and a big thanks to Daryl Qilin Yam - for doing most of the heavy lifting, Tse Hao Guang - for impersonating Ng Yi-Sheng, Joshua Ip - for whisky and venue, and Krishna Udayasankar - especially for her input on the texts.
I'm looking forward to regrouping in the middle of next year to see how these four texts turn out.
My favourite books I read in 2016:
1. The Emigrants, W G Sebald
2. Beauty is a Wound, Eka Kurniawan
3. Why be Happy When You Could Be Normal?, Jeanette Winterson
4. Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage, Alice Munro
5. Fun Home, Alison Bechdel
On Thursday 24 November 2016, Ng Yi-Sheng launched his new book of poems, Loud Poems For a Very Obliging Audience (Math Paper Press, 2016) at BooksActually.
Yi-Sheng, the award winning poet, is one of Singapore’s most engaging literary personalities full of energy, eccentricity and erudition. I've had the pleasure of appearing on a panel at SWF with Yi-Sheng in costume presenting twenty plus slides on Singapore Horror.
He’s not just a poet he’s a writer wearing multiple hats as an editor (see Eastern Heathens), blogger (see also the fascinating East is Everywhere), gay activist, critic, journalist, playwright, fashion icon and cultural commentator (see A History of Performance Poetry in Singapore).
LPFAVOA gathers Yi-Sheng’s best spoken word poems presented over a 16 year period. My goodness, that’s a long time.
I’ve also had the pleasure of reading the early draft of Yi-Sheng’s collection of shorts stories for Sing Lit Station’s 2016 Prose Bootcamp. This collection will be something to watch out for in the future.
Hao Guang's ear, Hsien Min listening to Kenny Leck with Clarissa Goenawan and Hoe Fang's hand in the background