Forum: Starting Out – Problems and Promises of Singapore Literature

Since the rebirth of local literary publishing in the late ’90s, much has changed, but much else has not. One question confronts both the beginner and the veteran: What next? Join Desmond Kon, Theophilus Kwek, Lee Wei Fen, Teng Qian Xi, and facilitator Nicholas Liu as the opportunities and obstacles facing writers today, with a view towards what can be done for tomorrow. Drawing on their own experiences as writers, editors and/or literary activists, the panel will explore topics ranging from the impact of social media to the shifting role of institutional authority.

Members of the public are welcome to submit questions for the panellists to field, both by email before the event ( and during the Q&A session following the discussion.


Desmond Kon has edited more than ten books and co-produced three audio books, several pro bono for non-profit organisations. Published in over 100 literary journals, including AGNI, Harvard Review and PANK, Desmond has placed in various international writing contests. An interdisciplinary artist, he also works in clay, his ceramic works housed in India, the Netherlands, the UK and the US.

Theophilus Kwek is currently a student at Raffles Institution. His poetry has been published in magazines including Ceriph and Mascara Literary Review, as well as the anthology & words: Poems Singapore and Beyond (Ethos Books). In 2010, he was a commended poet in the UK Poetry Society’s Foyle Young Poets of the Year Awards.

Lee Wei Fen is a graduate from the National University of Singapore, where she read South Asian Studies and English Literature. She is the editor of Ceriph, and her work has been published in places like Quarterly Literary Review Singapore, Nether Magazine, Softblow, and Open Magazine. She currently commutes between South Asia and Singapore.

Teng Qian Xi‘s first collection, They Hear Salt Crystallising, was published by Firstfruits publications in 2010. Her poems have appeared in QLRS, The Tangent, Argot, Softblow, BigO, Slope, on the London Underground, in various anthologies, and elsewhere. She graduated from Columbia University with a degree in comparative literature.


Nicholas Liu‘s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in magazines including elimae, Poetry Review, QLRS, Oxford Poetry, and the anthology Viz. Inter-Arts: Intervention. He is series editor of the new Storm Glass chapbook series. His first collection, Versions from the English, will be published later this year by Firstfruits publications. He studied at NUS.

Date: 7 May 2011, Saturday
Time: 12.30pm – 2.30pm
Venue: Glass Hall, Singapore Art Museum


To register, email with your contact details.


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