Literature of Singapore

Category: Anxiety, Singapore
Last Updated: 21 Mar 2023
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The literature of Singapore comprises a collection of literary works by Singaporeans in any of the country's four main languages: English, Tamil, Chinese, and Malay. While Singaporean literary works may be considered as also belonging to the literature of their specific languages, the literature of Singapore is viewed as a distinct body of literature portraying various aspects of Singapore society and forms a significant part of the culture of Singapore.

Literature in all four official languages has been translated and showcased in publications such as the literary journal Singa, that was published in the 1980s and 1990s with editors including Edwin Thumboo and Koh Buck Song, as well as in multilingual anthologies such as Rhythms: A Singaporean Millennial Anthology Of Poetry (2000), in which the poems were all translated three times each into the three languages. A number of Singaporean writers such as Tan Swie Hian and Kuo Pao Kun have contributed work in more than one language. However, such cross-linguistic fertilisation is becoming increasingly rare and it is now increasingly thought that Singapore has four sub-literatures instead of one.

Literature being an integral part of the culture of Singapore also portrays the specific aspects of the Singaporean society. The literature of Singapore mainly consists of literary works by well-known Singaporean writers in the four major languages of the nation-English, Chinese, Malay and Tamil. The distinct body of literature offers a glimpse of the multi-cultural society and is also the literature of their specific languages.

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The popular Singaporean writers like Tan Swie Hian and Kuo Pao Kun have made a significant contribution to the world of literature in Singapore. They have contributed their literary talent in more than one language. It is now considered that Singapore has four sub-literatures instead of one specific Singaporean literature.

Some of the popular Singaporean writers are Aaron Lee, Muhammad Ariff Ahmad, Boey Kim Cheng, Felix Cheong, Rohani Din, Goh Poh Seng, Ivy Goh Nair, Liang
Wern Fook, Rex Shelley, Kirpal Singh, Robert Yeo, Huzir Sulaiman, Colin Tan, Cyril Wong, Arthur Yap, Yong Shu Hoong and James Villanueva..

Related Questions

on Literature of Singapore

What is the language of Singaporean literature?
Singaporean literature is primarily written in English, although there are also works written in Malay, Chinese, and Tamil. Singaporean literature often reflects the multicultural nature of the country, drawing on the various languages and cultures of its people.
Who is a notable poet and novelist in Singaporean literature?
Kerri-Anne C.T. Tan is a notable poet and novelist in Singaporean literature. She is the author of several collections of poetry, including "The Art of Forgetting" and "The Art of Remembering", as well as the novel "The Last Tree". She has won numerous awards for her work, including the Singapore Literature Prize and the Golden Point Award.

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Literature of Singapore. (2016, Jul 20). Retrieved from

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