For this episode, Norwich-based poet and writer Shannon Clinton-Copeland speaks to our virtual residents Akshita Nanda, Crispin Rodrigues and Daryl Qilin Yam about writing and literary life in Singapore.
In 2022, NCW offered three virtual residencies for writers from Singapore, generously supported by the National Arts Council of Singapore. During their residences, they wrote about a wide range of topics; Akshita focussed on how much migration is accelerated through globalisation, Crispin worked on his fourth collection of poetry that stems from his mixed-race heritage and Daryl worked on Be Your Own Bae, a collection of interconnected short stories concerned with the lives of queer Singaporean men. Their residencies were supported by Singapore’s National Arts Council.
Akshita, Crispin and Daryl touch on everything from the relationship between writing and culture, to writing as a method for finding common experiences. They also discuss understanding across social, cultural and linguistic borders.
Virtual residencies for writers and translators can bring national and international voices and ideas to places like Norwich. Through commissions, online events and podcasts like this one, those voices can also reach a global audience. Find out more about our residencies →
Akshita Nanda is a journalist, analyst and author of the novels Beauty Queens of Bishan (Penguin Random House SEA) and Nimita’s Place (Epigram Books). Nimita’s Place was adapted for the stage in 2019 by arts group T:>Works and in 2020 co-won the Singapore Literature Prize for English fiction. Akshita has a degree in cell and molecular biology (National University of Singapore) and master’s in international affairs (Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, NUS).
Akshita’s fiction explores the migration of people and ideas – beliefs, fashions, memes, technology – and also how the dislocated become local. During her residency, she focussed on how such migration is accelerated through globalisation, and how this changes people’s lives.
Crispin Rodrigues is the author of three collections of poetry, Pantomime, The Nomad Principle, and How Now Blown Crow, as well as co-editor of Crazy Little Pyromaniacs, an anthology of poetry by Singapore poets 35 years-old and below. He has also dabbled in multimedia forms of literary work such as a poetry tour of his hometown of Yishun, Singapore.
For his residency, Crispin worked on his fourth collection of poetry that stems from his mixed-race heritage, and focuses on monstrosity, language hybridity as well as relationship between colonialism and neo-colonialism.
Daryl Qilin Yam (b. 1991) is a writer and arts organiser from Singapore. He is the author of the novels Kappa Quartet (2016) and Lovelier, Lonelier (2021), and the novella Shantih Shantih Shantih (2021). He is a co-founder of the literary non-profit Sing Lit Station.
During his residency, Daryl worked on Be Your Own Bae, a collection of interconnected short stories concerned with the lives of queer Singaporean men and the friends, family members and mentor figures that they love and look up to. Situated across Singapore, South Korea, New York City and multiple cities in Japan, the collection further threads together multiple genres and styles of writing such as speculative fiction, ekphrasis and creative autobiography.
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