Published on: 04-Aug-2015
A Canadian and two Singaporean writers will spend this semester at Nanyang Technological University (NTU), where they are the latest NTU-National Arts Council (NAC) Writers in Residence.
Award-winning novelist Madeleine Thien started her residency last month, while performance poet Pooja Nansi and prose writer Yeo Wei Wei begin this week.
Associate Professor Neil Murphy, Associate Dean (Undergraduate Studies) at NTU’s College of Humanities, Arts, & Social Sciences, said: “We are delighted to invite three important female authors, Madeleine, Pooja and Wei Wei to NTU as part of our ongoing collaboration with the NAC and our deep commitment to contributing to the creative arts in Singapore. Our students are thrilled to work with these talented and accomplished authors over the coming months and I’m sure that they will benefit tremendously through this interaction. We are also very happy to provide an important space in which the writers can find precious time to develop their work – a rare gift for creative artists.”
Since arriving in Singapore, Madeleine Thien has found more time to write in her first few weeks than she had over the past six months. Said Ms Thien, who will be at NTU until the end of this year: “Singapore is a place of many languages and histories. Languages are philosophies, and Singapore has a remarkable intersection of languages. I think NTU students have so much to teach me about the how these multiple ways of thinking and expressing oneself can create a unity and a freedom.”
Born in Vancouver, British Columbia, Thien’s first book, Simple Recipes – a collection of short stories – received the praise of Nobel Laureate Alice Munro, who wrote, “This is surely the debut of a splendid writer. I am astonished by the clarity and ease of the writing, and a kind of emotional purity.” Her latest novel, Dogs at the Perimeter, won the Frankfurt Book Fair’s 2015 Lißeraturpreis, which recognizes novels of Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East.
Recently, her short story titled The Wedding Cake, was shortlisted for the 2015 Sunday Times EFG Private Bank Short Story Award, the richest prize in the world for a single short story.
A teacher for the past decade, Pooja Nansi is no stranger to the classroom. The former Head of Department for English Literature and Language Arts at Temasek Junior College will spend a year at NTU, and says she was attracted to the residency for its balance between teaching and writing.
Said Ms Nansi, who has published two poetry collections: “I think engaging in dialogue, listening to people's stories, their ideas and their struggles makes me better at what I do. As a writer in Singapore, opportunities that support your time to write are a rare thing and the NTU residency is one such precious space.”
Also from a teaching background is Yeo Wei Wei, who previously taught English literature at the National University of Singapore. Her debut collection of short stories, titled These Foolish Things & Other Stories, will be launched at the Singapore Writers Festival later this year.
She plans to work on her first novel during her residency, which ends next February, and also looks forward to interacting with students. Said Dr Yeo, who has a PhD in English from Cambridge: “Writing is a solitary activity and it’s great to have an opportunity to be plugged into a community.”
The NTU-NAC Creative Writing Residencies were established in 2011 by the NTU Creative Writing Programme at the Division of English, with the support of the National Arts Council. Past Writers in Residence include Man Booker Prize-nominated novelists Tash Aw and Romesh Gunesekera, as well as Singapore Literature Prize winners Suchen Christine Lim and Yong Shu Hoong.
For more information on the NTU-NAC Creative Writing Residencies, please see the Annex.
Nur Amin Shah
Assistant Manager (Media Relations)
Corporate Communications Office
Nanyang Technological University
About Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
A research-intensive public university, Nanyang Technological University (NTU) has 33,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students in the colleges of Engineering, Business, Science, Humanities, Arts, & Social Sciences, and its Interdisciplinary Graduate School. It has a new medical school, the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, set up jointly with Imperial College London.
NTU is also home to world-class autonomous institutes – the National Institute of Education, S Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Earth Observatory of Singapore, and Singapore Centre on Environmental Life Sciences Engineering – and various leading research centres such as the Nanyang Environment & Water Research Institute (NEWRI), Energy Research Institute @ NTU (ERI@N) and the Institute on Asian Consumer Insight (ACI).
A fast-growing university with an international outlook, NTU is putting its global stamp on Five Peaks of Excellence: Sustainable Earth, Future Healthcare, New Media, New Silk Road, and Innovation Asia.
The University’s main Yunnan Garden campus has been named one of the Top 15 Most Beautiful in the World. NTU also has a campus in Novena, Singapore’s medical district.
For more information, visit www.ntu.edu.sg
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