Singapore Creative Writing Residency

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About The Residency 
The Singapore Creative Writing Residency is offering two residencies. One residency is for a Singapore writer and one for an international writer. Jointly organised by the National University of Singapore’s University Scholars Programme and Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences and The Arts House, the Singapore Creative Writing Residency aims to:

a) Provide time, opportunity and environment for the resident to complete a written work in the English language of substantial length and content;
b) Provide mentorship for students and potential writers in Singapore, and stimulate new writing from them through public programmes organised by the resident.  

Submissions for the 2017 Singapore Creative Writing Residency is closed. Please sign up for our mailing list to be kept up to date when the submission period for the 2018 Residency opens here 

Past Residents


GITANJALI KOLANAD (Aug 2016 – Jan 2017)

Gitanjali Kolanad, the 2016 Singapore Creative Writing Resident, presented her final showcase marking the end of her six month residency where she had been working on her first novel, Girl Made of Gold. The novel explores the world of the devadasi, the hereditary temple dancer, in the 1920s. A reading of the new novel was punctuated with performances by Kalaripayat artist Hans Wolfgramm and Bharata Natyam dancer Katyaini Reddy. This multidisciplinary showcase also examined how Indian movement traditions can bring a sensory awareness of time, space and the body that can enliven one's writing. 

Gitanjali Kolanad was involved in the practice, performance, and teaching of bharata natyam for more than  forty years. She performed in major cities in Europe, America and India, including London, New York, Paris, Vienna, Berlin, Toronto, Tokyo, New Delhi, Bombay, and Madras. Her traditional performances were praised by critics, while her contemporary choreographic work won new audiences for bharata natyam.

Her  work was often multi-disciplinary, arising out of collaborations with artists from other disciplines: director Phillip Zarrilli, video/installation artist Ray Langenbach, poet Judith Kroll, violinist Parmela Attariwala, to name a few.  Her performances incorporated folk and ritual forms of dance, theatre and martial art forms from South India. She created eight major full-length dance works, many of which she performed all over the world.

Gitanjali's short story "The American Girl" won second prize in the 2008 CBC Literary Awards. The story is part of a collection published in 2011 by Penguin India and long-listed for the Frank O’Connor Short Story Award that year. Her previous book, Culture Shock: India, published by Marshall Cavendish, is now into its third edition, and has been translated into Korean. She has written numerous articles on aspects of Indian dance for well-known Indian publications, such as Open Magazine and Seminar. For two years, she contributed a column on arts and culture to the newspaper New Indian Express.

She co-founded IMPACT - Indian Martial and Performance Arts Collective of Toronto, which teaches the Indian martial art form of kalaripayat to at-risk youth in underserved neighbourhoods.  Presently she is teaching courses in the Department of Art, Design and Performing Arts while developing a fully-fledged performing arts program at Shiv Nadar University.

 

PROGRAMMES AT TAH

  • World Lit featuring Gitanjali Kolanad; 8 Sept 2016

This programme presented Gitanjali to Singaporean audiences where she talked about her career as a dancer, transitioning into writing and reading from her first short story collection, Sleeping with Movie Stars.


ONG SZu YOONG (Aug 2015 – Jan 2016)

Ong Szu Yoong graduated from the University College London and was the recipient of several prizes including the Morley Prize awarded to the top graduating student in the English department. His poetry has been published in Galavant, Entropy, and Prelude.

Szu Yoong is currently working on a book that combines poetry, photography, literary theory and criticism.

 

PROGRAMMES AT TAH

  • Singapore Creative Writing Residency 2015: Object Lessons; 18 Feb – 7 Mar 2016

Szu Yoong curated an exhibition of his mentees’ that explored the ways of materialising language, placing emphasis on open-ended experimentation and play.


SALLY WEN MAO (Aug 2015 – Jan 2016)

Sally Wen Mao is the author of Mad Honey Symposium (Alice James Books, 2014). Her work has been anthologized in The Best American Poetry 2013 and is forthcoming or published in Poetry, Black Warrior Review, Guernica, the Missouri Review, and Washington Square, among others. She earned an MFA from Cornell University and has received fellowships from Kundiman, Hedgebrook, and Saltonstall Foundation. She currently teaches in the Asian American Studies department of Hunter College (New York) and is a 2016-2017 Cullman Center Fellow at the New York Public Library.

 

PROGRAMMES AT TAH

  • World Lit moderated by Sally Wen Mao; 17 September 2015

World Lit is pleased to introduce Sally was introduced to Singaporean audiences in this programme where she read from her acclaimed debut collection of poems Mad Honey Symposium and discuss her plans for the residency. 

  • World Lit Workshops presents Bad B!tch Poetics by Sally Wen Mao; 9 January 2016

Sally conducted a workshop helping writers explore their inner “bad bitch” and took participants on a journey of discovery into what it meant to be a "bad bitch" in the context of creative/poetic practices. 

  • World Lit featuring Nicholas Wong & Cathy Linh Che

Sally curated and moderated a discussion about global and national literary communities featuring Hong Kong poet Nicholas Wong and Vietnamese American poet Cathy Linh Che. 


JASON WEE (Aug 2014 – Jan 2015)

Jason Wee is an artist and a writer. His art practice is concerned with the hollowing out of singular authority in favour of conundrums and polyphony. He transforms these singular architectures, histories and spaces into various visual and written materials.

He runs Grey Projects, an artists’ space and residency in Tiong Bahru. He is a graduate of The New School and Harvard Graduate School of Design. 

He is the author of Tongues (2012), a commission by the Singapore Fringe Festival. His latest poetry book The Monsters Between Us was named by TODAY newspaper as one of the top art picks of 2013.

Jason is currently the artist-in-residency at Nanyang Technological University’s Centre for Contemporary Art, Singapore.

 

PROGRAMMES

  • Captions without Pictures: Showcase by Jason Wee’s Mentees; 17 Jan – 8 Feb 2015

In response to a writing workshop lead by Jason, his mentees created a series of small delicate prints. The monochrome works featured the promising new writing by these students that ranged from poetry to aphorisms to micro fictions. 

  • Captions without Pictures – A workshop on how to write microfiction with Jason Wee; 31 Jan & 7 Feb 2015

Jason lead a public workshop on writing microfiction that took place over two weekends. 

  • Combined Showcase by Faith Ng & Jason Wee; 28 Feb 2015

A joint final showcase for the two residents saw Jason reading from the collection of poetry he was working on about his relationship with the artist Lee Wen.


FAITH NG (Aug 2014 – Jan 2015)

Faith Ng is a playwright and an Associate Artist with Checkpoint Theatre. Her plays include wo(men) (2010), For Better or for Worse (2013) and Normal (2015). The first two have been nominated for Best Original Script at the Life! Theatre Awards. She holds a Master of Arts with Distinction in Creative Writing (Scriptwriting) from the University of East Anglia, under the National Arts Council Postgraduate Scholarship. She also teaches playwriting at the National University of Singapore.

Checkpoint Theatre will soon be launching Faith Ng: Plays Volume 1, a collection of eight of Faith’s plays.

 

PROGRAMMES

  • Twisting Tales Writing Camp; 20 – 22 Nov 2014

Faith conducted a writing camp for aspiring writers aged between 9 to 12 years old. The participants were encouraged to put their own twist on their favourite stories then to adapt them into a short play. 

  • Ten Short Plays; 27 Feb 2015

The students mentored by Faith launched Ten Short Plays, an anthology of their work. Excerpts of the plays were read by NUS Stage members and USP students.

  • Combined Showcase by Faith Ng & Jason Wee; 28 Feb 2015

A joint final showcase for the two residents saw a staged reading of the new play which Faith wrote during the residency.


JASMINE ANN COORAY (Jul 2013 – Dec 2013)

Jasmine Ann Cooray is a poet, workshop facilitator and training psychotherapist. Her work aims to tell the truth, and have an interesting journey getting to it. She is known for her vivid images, finely crafted verse and inclusive performance style. Her debut collection everything we don’t say was published by Tall Lighthouse Press in 2009.

Jasmine was recently the first poet to become a BBC Performing Arts Fellow, a prestigious professional development scheme funded by the BBC Performing Arts Fund to give space to artists to develop their craft and career.

 

PROGRAMMES AT TAH

  • World Voices featuring Jasmine Ann Cooray; 26 Jul 2013

Jasmine was presented in this programme to Singaporean audiences where she read from her debut collection.  

  • The Invisibility Project; 4 – 31 Dec 2013

The Invisibility Project was an art collaboration project between poets and visual artists in Singapore that Jasmine curated. Six poets were invited to respond to the theme of Invisibility. The commissioned poems are then allocated to six visual artists, who interpreted the poems as they saw fit.


DAN KOH (Jul 2013 – Dec 2013)

Dan Koh is a writer and editor existing in Jurong. A recipient of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences scholarship from the National University of Singapore, he graduated with a BA (Merit) in English Literature. While he was studying, he co-founded and edited POSKOD.SG, an influential online magazine about modern Singapore.

In 2012, he co-authored GILA BOLA!, an e-book about homegrown football commissioned by the National Library Board’s Singapore Memory project, and served as a Creative Non-Fiction mentor of the Ceriph Mentorship Programme. His one-act play, Staying Over, has been published in Voices Clear and True: New Singapore Plays Volume 1, and staged by Buds Theatre. His other short plays have been staged by Checkpoint Theatre and NUS Stage.

His broad involvement in Singapore’s writing scene also extends to freelance writing, including for NYLON Singapore, ZIGGY, inSing.com, and I-S. He has interviewed legendary rock band Jesus and the Mary Chain, singer Kit Chan, and Palme d’Or-winning filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul.

He is highly passionate about community development. In 2012, the National Heritage Board invited him to be a speaker at their “Past Forward – A Heritage Bloggers’ Event”. He has also facilitated film talks with directors like Wee Li Lin, Lei Yuan Bin, and Sherman Ong and was the MC for 2012 Art Stage Singapore’s Talks. He has been interviewed by the BBC World Service, The Straits Times, The Business Times and TODAY about Singapore’s heritage and creative industry.

 

PROGRAMMES AT TAH

  • New Word Order featuring Dan Koh; 26 Nov 2013

Dan gave a reading of his creative non-fiction piece alongside digital accompaniment. He also shared more about how he was translating to text his exploration of Singapore’s rural-to-urban transformation – the resettlement of Singaporeans from kampongs to HDB apartments – and how this had the potential to help us cope with changes to our physical landscape.


JAY BERNARD (Oct 2011 – Sep 2012)

Jay was the first international writer of The Arts House and National University of Singapore University Scholars Programme (NUS USP) Creative Writing Residency. London-born and Oxford-educated, she is a writer, poet and graphic artist, who has published a volume of poetry, short stories, comic strips, and graphic reviews. She was appointed the 2011 Artist-in-Residence at the Stanza Poetry Festival in St. Andrews, Scotland and in 2013 she was the City Read young writer in residence at London Metropolitan Archives. Jay was part of the Breaking Ground Tour in the US in 2015.

Her second book, English Breakfast, was written and published during her residency in Singapore and her most recent book The Red and Yellow Nothing, has just been published by Ink, Sweat and Tears. She is currently a programmer for BFI Flare: London LGBT Film Festival and, as a graphic artist, her work has appeared on the cover of Wasafiri and in Chroma, Diva and Litro.

 

PROGRAMMES

  • World Voices featuring Jay Bernard; 14 Jan 2012

Jay was presented in this programme to Singaporean audiences where she read from her debut collection, Your Sign is Cuckoo, Girl.

  • The Arts House Turns 8: Spoken Word Performance; 27 & 28 Mar 2012

In an improvised music and poetry performance based on the Mandarin proverb, “I hear, I forget. I see, I remember. I do, I understand”, Jay and musician Bani Hakyal will explore the fluid relationship between teacher and student.

  • I See You: Graphic Poetry Exhibition; 12 – 24 Jun 2012

I See You was a presentation of poetry in visual form curated by Jay. Local artists were given a poem written during the residency and asked to respond as they wish.

  • New Word Order featuring Jay Bernard & Company; 13 Sept & 4 Oct 2012

Jay and her group of mentee-writers from NUS presented an evening of performance poetry. She also launched her new collection, English Breakfast, written during her residency. Besides the creative writing talents whom she had mentored, Jay also performed with the many friends she made during her residency.

 

 

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