A Look into Singaporean Literature: Fresh, Inspiring, Evocative

Literature. What we think it is: fluent, cultured stories originating from the West that usually only well-read bookworms would indulge in. This week, why not we tweak this perspective on literature by acknowledge the fantastic and down to earth books that have been authored by Singaporeans? These titles will motivate, inspire, and let you know that you don’t need to be an avid reader to appreciate literature.

1) The Sound of SCH: A Mental Breakdown, A Life Journey

Written by Danielle Lim, this nonfiction title tells the moving and inspirational story of Danielle’s mother, who has loved and cared for Danielle’s schizophrenic uncle for over 30 years. The Sound of SCH sheds insight into the difficulties and societal pressures faced by caregivers and schizophrenic patients while at the same time affirming the strength of familial bonds in the face of hardship. A touching story that is worth a read across all ages, this book has also been shortlisted for this year’s Singapore Literature Prize.

2) Happy Long Life to You

A collection of stories written around what was seen and experienced at Shelter Trust: a HIV shelter for children in India. The authorS of this book may strike you as unexpected: they were medical students from Singapore who were volunteering at the shelter. Touched by the stories of Uma, a woman at Shelter Trust, the group penned her recollections and her voice has since been compiled into their touching and inspirational book. Whether you are a medical practitioner or someone who is interested to know more about the conditions and dreams that these children live with, this book will definitely give you food for thought and move you.

3) My Daughter, My Friend: Letters to a Daughter

Irene Chua, the author behind this touching book, adapted the actual letters she wrote for her teenage daughter as a way to express her desires and emotions as a mother, towards her daughter. This makes the book a touching and palpable experience for both mothers and daughters, and even fathers who also hold a stake and value in parenting. The letters are heartfelt and the narrative will strike both new and old mothers alike, either reminding them of their relationship with their child, or their relationship with their mother.

(P.S. This book has also been translated into Chinese by Peggy Chan!)

We’ve only scratched the surface of local literature in this small space. Ethos Books is one of a number of Singaporean publishers who are nurturing writers, printing stories with a Singaporean flair, and changing the nation’s perception of literature one book at a time. Next time, when you’re stuck on what gift to buy a relative or friend, consider the amazing selection of titles published under Ethos Books, Epigram Books, Math Paper Press and many more. Support local bookstores like Booktique and Books Actually too!

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