Inaugural Writers-In-The-Gardens Residency Programme Awarded to Four Singaporean Writers


They will have the opportunity to immerse themselves in Singapore’s gardens for inspiration and creativity


Singapore, 19 November 2013 – The National Arts Council (NAC) is pleased to select four Singapore writers for the inaugural edition of the Writers-In-The-Gardens Residency Programme. The selected recipients are:

  • Adeline Foo and Chan Wai Han for the Singapore Botanic Gardens, who will work on Children’s Picture Books; and
  • Desmond Kon and Josephine Chia for Gardens by the Bay, who will work on novellas.


 2          These four writers will be given access to the gardens, and have the opportunity to write and publish original works as a result of their time spent there. As part of the programme, the writers would also be conducting workshops at the gardens as part of public outreach to help cultivate the love for the written word.


 3          Says Mr Khor Kok Wah, Senior Director for Literary Arts, NAC, “We are encouraged to see good response to this inaugural Writers-In-Garden Residency programme. It is one of NAC’s new initiatives for the literary arts scene, providing Singaporean writers with a unique opportunity to create new works. Our partnership with the gardens opens up new avenues to nurture Singapore talent and enrich the canon of Singapore-made works, inspired by iconic Singapore landmarks.”


 Selection Process

 4          An open call for proposals for the Writers-In-Gardens Residency programme was conducted from 1 June to 30 August this year. This call for proposals was open to all Singaporean emerging and established writers, and for works to be written in English, Chinese, Malay or Tamil.


5          A total of 53 applications were received. In September 2013, NAC convened a panel to assess the proposals, comprising publishers, established writers and experts across all four language mediums as well as representatives from NAC. The panel looked at all proposals according to its artistic merit, proposed public engagement programmes, and the writer’s track record and ability to deliver. They eventually selected four English works, because they felt these best met the selection criteria.


6          Panel member, Dr Hadijah Binte Rahmat, Deputy Head, Asian Languages and Cultures Academic Group (ALC), National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, commented, “The panel was pleased to see so many strong applications for this residency programme, and encouraging to see interest from a range of established and emerging Singaporean writers and across all four languages. Eventually the panel agreed that the four selected writers submitted the strongest and most engaging proposals”.


 Next Steps

 7          Selected writers are part of a six-month long residency programme with the two iconic gardens in Singapore: the Singapore Botanic Gardens and Gardens by the Bay, which started on 1 November 2013. Over the course of the residency, the writers will produce a children’s book or a fiction novella, inspired by the garden. In addition, the residency programme will include: 

  • Free access to the respective garden for the period of the residency;
  • Exclusive access to the garden’s library resources and/or R&D personnel for research and writing purposes; and
  • Arrangements for the writers to conduct at least two public reading/workshop sessions with the respective garden.


8         More information on the residency programme, along with bios and photos of the four writers, can also be found in the Appendix.