Top 10 Books Written By Singaporean Authors

With new campaigns like #BuySingLit and #buylocal gaining importance, it’s become more important than ever to support local authors and read locally. So if you responded that you’ve never read a literary book by a Singaporean writer in the 2015 National Arts Council survey, this list is compiled for you! Diving beyond the mainstream Adam Khoo, Catherine Lim or Russell Lee, these books have been carefully chosen to give you a glimpse of the broad spectrum of literature that exists in Singapore today. 

1. It Never Rains on National Day by Jeremy Tiang 
The readers trace the journeys of various characters from Switzerland, Norway, Germany, China, Canada, Thailand, New York City and eventually Singapore on National Day. These unique stories juggle with the themes of belonging and finding one’s identity and Tiang presents them to us in a well-constructed and enthralling work of fiction.

2. The Adopted: Stories from Angkor by Heng Siok Tian, Phan Ming Yen, Yong Shu Hoong and Yeow Kai Chai
 
 
Conceived on a holiday, this work of fiction toys with the interactions of the locals of Siem Reap considered from four different perspectives. Get ready to enter a maze of quirky stories that unravel interesting connections between subconscience, perception and human interactions. The Adopted is sure to appeal to you!

3. One Fierce Hour by Alfian Sa’at
 

Published in 1998, this poetry collection celebrates the anthem “Singapore You Are Not My Country” well before its sensationalization on social media. The writer’s voice comes with the sharp undertone of angst and impassion over losing kampungs to the booming urban landscape in the late ‘90s.  
 
4. Hard Choices: Challenging the Singapore Consensus by Sudhir Thomas Vadaketh and Donald Low

A work of nonfiction, Hard Choices critically examines the political context of Singapore today and questions the consensus that the PAP government is the cause of Singapore’s growth and maintenance. By focusing on the vulnerability of Singapore’s position today, this is an interesting read for anyone looking to have their views challenged and influenced. 

5. Ministry of Moral Panic by Amanda Lee Koe
 
 
Winner of the Singapore Literature Prize for fiction in 2014, this collection of inventive stories is a bold emblem of the changing sense of moral relativism and sexual frankness in Singapore. From telling the tale of an aging Malay Pop Yeh Yeh singer who rekindles his teenage love in a psychiatric ward, to the story of a transsexual Merlion, Ministry of Moral Panic is a candid retelling that will have you hooked.
 

6. Now That It’s Over by O Thiam Chin 
Now That It’s Over paints the circumstances of a tsunami in all its glory: the past events that led to it, its aftermath and all the ties and bonds that changed because of it. A gut-wrenching story about loss and devastation on the premise, the story is also a deep exploration of a Singaporean Chinese childhood. This recount is sure to keep you on your toes! 

7. After The Fire by Boey Kim Cheng 
Boey Kim Cheng is known for his frank denouncement of the urban lifestyle. After The Fire doesn’t disappoint and deals with the similar themes of migration and cultural identity as he mars the lines between the past and future, the home country and the adopted one.

8. Singapore Siu Dai: The SG Conversation In A Cup by Felix Cheong
 
An appeal for all fans of humor, this series of illustrated stories presents a fresh a take on everything from the “kiasu” nature to the most recent General Election. It was so well received that it now comes as a series of three books! For any Singaporean looking for a good laugh, these relatable comedies will never disappoint. 

9. A Candle Or The Sun by Gopal Baratham 
The former neurosurgeon fabricates the tale of Hernie Pereira, a successful employee at Singapore’s largest store. But as the novel progresses, it is revealed as a vivid portrayal of the war between political corruption and maintaining a conscience that will keep you on your toes. 

10. A Different Sky by Meira Chand
 
 
Set during the Japanese Occupation of World War II and the communist riots in the aftermath, this novel follows the interconnected lives of three families. A story about nationalism, security, and identity, it is a realistic commentary on how political events can impact citizens on a deeper level. A must read for everyone!
 
So there you have it! 10 must-read books written by Singaporean authors. All the books mentioned are available for purchase online and at bookstores islandwide. Now, National Libraries and initiatives like Book Fairies SG are making it even easier for you to read these books at no cost at all! Simply go to your closest library and peruse their local literature section, or keep up with the @bookfairies_singapore Instagram page to find out where free books are being dropped off near you. Happy reading! 

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