YCMP 894

Young Critics Mentorship Programme




Why does art need criticism? Because it needs something outside of itself as a place of reflection, discernment, and connection with the larger world. Art for art’s sake is fine, if you can get it. But then the connection to the real becomes tenuous, and the connection to the social disappears. If you want to engage, if you want discourse, you need criticism.

-        Noted poet and critic David Levi Strauss on the value of criticism in the context of art.

The Arts House launches a new mentorship programme which aims to develop and nurture the next generation of reviewers and arts critics. The 1st edition of this 12-month long mentorship will focus on writing book reviews as well as critical essays. Mentees will receive guidance and feedback from established writers to hone their skills.

Other activities such as workshops and talks will also be planned for mentees to hone their skills. The best reviews and essays will be published on The Arts House website as well as submitted to other reputed online journals for consideration.  

Those 18 years and over are welcome to apply. You will need to submit the application form, a copy of a review you have written (500 words), a biography (200 words) and a short statement about why you would like to participate in this programme (200 words).

Selected mentees will be informed by end June 2016.


The Arts House is grateful for the support of the following partners for this programme. 

Ethos Books
Epigram Books



Mentors for Young Critics Mentorship Programme 2016

YCMP 1200 x 628

Image of Toh Hsien Min (rightmost) courtesy of Alvin Pang 

Cyril Wong is a Singapore Literature Prize-winning poet, fictionist and critic who completed his doctoral degree at the National University of Singapore in English Literature in 2012. He received the Young Artist Award from the National Arts Council in 2005. His intense, complex and deeply personal poetry was featured in the 2008 W.W. Norton & Co. anthology, Language for a New Century: Contemporary Poetry from the Middle East, Asia & Beyond, and he has been a featured poet at numerous literary festivals, including the Edinburgh International Book Festival and the Hong Kong International Literary Festival. He presently edits the poetry webjournal, SOFTBLOW.

Born in Singapore, Eddie Tay teaches courses on creative writing and poetry at the Department of English, Chinese University of Hong Kong. He is the author of three volumes of poetry. His first book of poetry, Remnants, consists of renditions of mythic and colonial history of Malaya as well as a homage to the Tang Dynasty poets Li Bai, Du Fu and Li He. His second volume of poetry, A Lover's Soliloquy, extends his interests in Tang Dynasty poetry through renditions of the erotic poetry of Li Shang-yin. It also explores the language of eroticism in the modern city life. His most recent collection is The Mental Life of Cities, a winner of the 2012 Singapore Literature Prize. In it, he experiments with bilingual (English-Chinese) poetry. He has also written a scholarly book entitled Colony, Nation, and Globalisation: Not at Home in Singaporean and Malaysian Literature. He is the Reviews Editor of Cha. His recent experiments with poetry alongside his own photography can be found at Asiatic. He is currently working on a forthcoming volume consisting of poetry and street photography.

Toh Hsien Min has published three collections of poetry, most recently the Singapore Literature Prize shortlisted Means to an End (2008). His work has also been published internationally in the likes of the London Review of Books and Carcanet’s Oxford Poets 2013. After obtaining first class honours and master’s degrees in English Literature at Oxford University, he founded the Quarterly Literary Review Singapore (www.qlrs.com) in 2001 and has since kept it running as an important venue for critical writing about literature in Singapore. 


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