Constance Singam
Constance Singam

The feminist rallying cry – “the personal is political” – rings on every page of this memoir by a distinguished citizen whose ideas and ideals galvanised the women’s movement in Singapore.

The word “margins” in the title refers to the multiple ways in which Constance Singam found herself marginalised: as a woman, an ethnic Indian, a widow and a civil society activist.

Her answer to each kind of marginality was to rewrite the prevailing terms of discourse so that her femininity, her Malayalee-Indian culture, and her political disquiet became sources of self-empowerment, not of self-denial.

“I am who I think I am,” she declares defiantly. “I am what I believe. I am what I do.” The personal could not be more political.

A book with a title as brash as Crazy Rich Asians is just asking to be picked up and read. The ascent of Asian money is all too real, yet at the same time, one can’t help but ask where such money came from – and who these people are. And thanks to Kevin Kwan’s debut novel, we can enter into this world of intrigue.

The story centres around girlfriend and boyfriend Rachel Chu and Nick Young, the latter heir to one of the largest billionaire fortunes in Singapore. The two have been living in rather isolated bliss in New York; Rachel, an American-born Chinese (ABC), knows nothing about Nick’s powerful family and the futureexpectations of him—until he brings her home for the society wedding of the year at which Nick is best man.

Anu_kumarAnuradha Kumar is one of those rare writers who straddle the worlds of writing for children and adults with equal ease. Today, when the publishing market is competitive and segmented and subdivided like never before, finding success in more than one genre is not easy–and the fact that Anu sails successfully in more than one genre is a testament to her huge talent. Yet she started out without much ambition, as she mentions in this interview with Kitaab. “I started writing stories when I found myself bored in the corporate world, then submitted these to online magazines and then I just wanted to do more,” she says.

Anu’s first book was In Search Of A Raja And Other Stories published by Writers Workshop. This was followed by The Dollmakers’ Island and Letters for Paul. Her most recent novel is, It Takes a Murder (Hachette). In between all these novels, she has published many successful books for children. Eminent author and scholar Pankaj Mishra has described her as a writer to watch. Read this interview and you will know why.

Singapore Decalogue final cover

by Zafar Anjum

My first collection of short stories, The Singapore Decalogue: Episodes in the Life of a Foreign Talent (Red Wheelbarrow Books, 2012) was released in November this year at the Singapore Writers Festival. The book was supported by the National Arts Council Singapore under the Arts Creation Fund grant.

In this collection of short stories, I have tried to create vignettes of life in Singapore. This is my tribute to this city state, which has built its social capital with great wisdom, civic sense, and quotidian practicality.

Like many modern metros, the Lion City is compact, with people of various ethnicity and nationalities living side by side. Though they live mostly secluded, private lives, there are times when their paths cross. This civic commingling of people can be harmonious or chaotic, depending on the circumstances.