4 Singaporean Women Writers and Their Books to Read this Month

What better way to celebrate Women’s Month than by reading proses from some of our own literary artists carving names for themselves. The themes and ideas echoed in these books tackle topics of loss, family, identity, and courage. All of them weaved into narratives and characters that will leave you no choice but to be drawn in.

The stories and writers in this list diverge into many different styles and genres, proof of the abundance of creativity in our women writers. If you’re hungry for a new book to devour this International Women’s month, then you have found the right place. Add a copy of these books to your collection and spend a weekend afternoon with some of the works of these Singaporean women writers.

Amanda Lee Koe and Delayed Rays of a Star

Koe is the youngest winner of the Singapore Literature Prize and is best known for her debut novel, Delayed Rays of A Star,which came out in July 2019.

This is a novel that portrays women at some of their most complex. It is mesmerizing to see so much ambition in a book that melds history and fiction. The women here are portrayed neither as heroes nor villains but as complete people. Their hopes, dreams, insecurities, and fears clashing and reconciling with the circumstances they find themselves in.    

Clarissa Goenawan and Rainbirds

Indonesian-born Singaporean writer, Clarissa Goenawan won the 2015 Bath Novel Award with her debut novel Rainbirds.

Rainbirds manages to touch on grim and heavy matters without falling into the trap of oversentimentality. It approaches death and grief with a meaningful lightness that serves to make the characters and story all the more engaging. It is a captivating mystery narrative that unravels unlike any other.

Ovidia Yu and The Paper Bark Tree Mystery

Ovidia Yu is one of the better-known writers in Singapore. Many of her published works, including plays and short stories, have garnered numerous awards.

The third book in Yu’s Crown Colony series and set in 1930s Singapore, the story is a fine blend of crime and period drama. We are brought into a world as experienced by a character discriminated for her race and disability. We see her struggles and ambitions in a time of great colonial oppression and imminent war.

Anittha Thanabalan and The Lights That Find Us

Anittha’s 2018 debut novel that was a finalist at the Epigram Books Fiction Prize is a Singaporean take on the classic A Christmas Carol. It’s set during Deepavali and explores Hindi culture in great detail.

It is a hopeful book. But it is also one that does not shy away from depicting the family as a great source of pain. It highlights the messiness and discomfort that come when we are healing from past mistakes.

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