24 February 2009

project: SHOWCASE {creative writing} features

Josephine Chia is a Peranakan Straits Chinese, born and raised in Kampong Potong Pasir Singapore. She came to England in October 1985. She is a published author who gives talks on Creative Writing, yoga for health and cookery. She has an M.A. in Creative Writing and has published books on Singaporean Cookery, a novel, a collection of short stories and memoirs.

She is also a yoga teacher trained by the British Wheel Of Yoga and mainly work on a one-to-one basis with clients using yoga as a therapy for common ailments and disorders, particularly backache and asthma. She has worked with both abled and disabled clients. Her yoga book, Body And Mind Sculpture/Shape Up For Self-Discovery was published in May 2003. Full details of her boo
ks can be found on her website: www.josephinechia.com

Josephine just had her manuscript, Your Body: Gateway To The Divine accepted by O Publishers, UK. This book is based on the spiritual aspect of yoga and is due to be released in July 2009. Josephine has written for spiritual magazines like Kindred Spirit and New Vision. She recently won Third Prize in a Society Of Women Writers & Journalists short story competition in May 2007 with her story, A Question Of Choice. Her article, A Sense of Place won its Highly Commended Prize in December 2006. She also had a short story A Satisfactory Solution published in an anthology in August 2006. Her last novel, Shadows Across The Sun was released in August 2005 and was published in USA by Publish America.

A UK publisher, Parapress Ltd brought out her book on yoga/ fitness, Body And Mind Sculpture in May 2003 and Times International of Singapore brought out a Singapore edition. Times International of Singapore also published a non-fiction book, Frog Under A Coconut Shell in August 2002. A chapter of the same book was published in a UK
magazine Mslexia, a writing magazine for women, under the heading A Slice Of Life. A short story, Kosong, was published in the January 2001 issue of Silverkris, the inflight magazine of Singapore Airlines under the Singapore Writes column. Another short story Watercolour Dream was published by Worldwide Writers in an anthology in 1999. Rasa Singapura/ Taste of Singapore, a cookery book was self-published in March 1998. Josephine was one of the winners of the 1992 Ian St. James Awards for short stories. Her story, Tropical Fever was published by Harper Collins in an anthology called Blood, Sweat And Tears. The publicity from this award resulted in two Singapore publishers approaching Josephine and ending in them publishing her first novel called My Mother-In-Law’s Son and a collection of short stories called Isn’t Singapore Somewhere In China, Luv? Josephine has other short stories and articles published in various publications.

Rosaline Ting was born in Singapore and migrated to England in 1980. While practising as a Chartered Surveyor, she wrote short stories and articles for hobby. Many were published in Her World and Female magazines; and one short story ‘Mrs. Tang’s Rat Race’ was published in SINGA: Literature & The Arts in Singapore, and also in an UK Literary magazine, Jennings. ‘The Tide Turns’ was short-listed by FISH Publishing and ‘Love in May’ won a third prize in short story writing competitions in the UK. Then for fifteen years she stopped creative writing, picking it up again in 2003 by attending adult education courses at Citylit.

In November 2005 she joined Yellow Ink Writers’ Group and started playwriting. (Unfortunately, this East Asian writers’ group was dissolved in 2007.) At a workshop she wrote the first six lines of dialogue for ‘Journeys’ and completed the play for a work-in-progress performance in February 2007 at Wimbledon Studio, South London. A year later, she received funding from Arts Council England to further develop the script and a staged reading was presented at Tara Studio, South London, in July 2008.

In ‘Journeys’ Rosaline writes passionately about Chinese people, celebrating the spirit of survival in women and the friendship between them, and how in their twilight years, like fallen leaves, they return to their ancestral roots.

Rosaline won the prestigious 2006/7 Playgrounding competition by Polka Theatre (Children) for their Playgrounding Festival in April 2007. Her play ‘A Girl Named Shining Brightly’ for 9 years-old upwards was performed with script-in-hand. Later that year, she was selected for an educational project at Stranmillis University College, Belfast. After script development, her professional creative team read the play in the College theatre. Furthermore, she was selected by EAST (funded by Arts Council of England) for a showcase at Soho Theatre, Central London on 11 June 2008.

On the strength of her idea for ‘The Sun is Setting’ she was short-listed in August 2007 by The Script Factory and BBC Radio 4 for a drama masterclass. In November 2007 her idea for ‘Yellow Boat to China’ was short-listed for Yellow Voices Writers’ Scheme. Rosaline was awa
rded bursaries to attend a week’s residential course at the Arvon Foundation on ‘Naturalism and the Theatre’ in July 2008 and on ‘Playwriting for Radio & Stage’ at the Ty Newydd Centre in Wales in August 2008.

Also, in the summer of 2008, she was chosen by The Literary Consultancy (funded by the Arts Council) for a free mentoring place to write her first novel (with a working title: A Disappearing Woman). She has just finished the first draft of her manuscript.

Johann S Lee is the author of Singapore's first gay novel, Peculiar Chris (1992) - a seminal work which has since been translated into Italian, and successfully adapted into a play (Happy Endings – Asian Boys Volume 3) by Alfian Sa'at. His second novel, To Know Where I'm Coming (2007), was rated 5 out of 6 stars by Time Out. The concluding part of his queer triptych, Quiet Time (2008), has been described as "a remarkable book" (The Sunday Times), "a must-read" (Trevvy.com) and "Singapore's best gay novel ever" (Fridae.com).

About Quiet Time:
In 2007, as he tumbles rapidly into his late thirties, Kuang Ming is starting to feel his diminishing relevance in Singapore's youth-obsessed gay circles, even as his conservative country faces the possibility of a historic change in the rules of queer existence. A long-term relationship in jeopardy... A family in conflict... And a nation in transition? Kuang Ming cannot have foreseen how his life will change forever.

"Passionate and unflinching in his portrayal of the self-contradictions and inexorable conflicts which remain part and parcel of being gay in Singapore, Johann S Lee has created a wonderfully realistic, prescient and moving book that threatens to bat his previous works (and many past Singaporean novels) off the shelf of living memory. "
- Cyril Wong, poet and recipient of the 2006 Singapore Literature Prize

"Johann S Lee, who daringly became the forbearer of Singapore gay literature in the uncertain early 90s with his searching themes, now reassuringly takes on the mantle of its godfather in an equally unquiet time when his characters discover that paternalism could be a source of not just conflict and contagion, but penetrating commonality." - Daren Shiau, author and recipient of the 2002 National Arts Council's Young Artist Award