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The growing divide between haves and have-nots is of concern around the world.

How does language reinforce or bridge this divide? This reading explores the relationship between class, ethnicity and language. The writers will sign books after the reading.

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Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan is the author of A Tiger in the Kitchen: A Memoir of Food and Family (Hyperion, 2011). A native of Singapore, she is currently working on her first novel, and is the editor of Singapore Noir (Akashic, 2014), an anthology of noir fiction set in Singapore. She was a staff writer covering fashion and culture at The Wall Street Journal, In Style and the Baltimore Sun and her work has also appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Paris Review, Bon Appetit and Food & Wine, among other publications. The National Arts Council of Singapore awarded her major grants in support of her books in 2011 and 2012. She has been an artist in residence at Yaddo, Hawthornden Castle and the Djerassi Resident Artists Program. She lives in Brooklyn.

Joshua Ip has published two volumes of poetry: sonnets from the singlish (2012)—44 sonnets on growing up in Singapore; and making love with scrabble tiles (2013)—44 poems on love and language. His poetry and short stories have been published in various print and online journals, and he is the first-prize winner of the Golden Point Award 2013 for the short story “The Man Who Turned Into a Photocopier.” He is currently working on his first graphic novel, after the flood.

Wena Poon is the author of 8 books of literary fiction. Her stories have been professionally produced on the London stage, serialized on BBC Radio 4, and extensively anthologized and translated into French, Italian and Chinese. She won the UK’s Willesden Herald Prize for best short fiction. She has also been nominated for Ireland’s Frank O’Connor Award, France’s Prix Hemingway, the Singapore Literature Prize and the UK’s Bridport Prize for Poetry. Her work is studied by British and American academics of transnational and Asian American literature, and form part of the Cambridge ‘O’ Level Literature exam syllabus in Singapore high schools. Born and raised in Singapore, she is fluent in several languages, graduated magna cum laude in English Literature from Harvard and holds a J.D. from Harvard Law School. Based in Austin, Texas, she is a lawyer by profession.


This event is presented by the Singapore Literature Festival.

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