When Singapore was chosen as the guest nation for the ongoing sixth edition of the Hyderabad Literary Festival (HLF), a few eyebrows were raised. However, Singapore-based authors and poets who trooped into the city for the festival assert that the nation that was ‘culturally-barren’ in the past now has a budding literary scene.
While Singapore literature might only bring memories of authors facing the brunt of state authority, a few members of the fairly-young Singaporean literati, who spoke about the cultural aspirations of an ‘economically driven’ nation on the sidelines of the three-day festival, assure that things are about to change.
“Although Singapore didn’t have a literary scene until recently, people are getting more interested in literature, poetry and other works of art. There are many libraries and theatres that have opened up and creative writing is taught at many universities now. Also, being a nation that embraces four different languages – English, Mandarin, Malay and Tamil – there is scope for building a diverse literary heritage,” said Yong Shu Hoong, a Singapore-based poet of Chinese descent, who won the Singapore Literature Prize in 2006.