Ng Yi Sheng (黄毅圣; 黄毅聖; Huáng Yì Shèng; born 1980) is an openly gay writer of very considerable energy. He burst into prominence in the collective consciousness of the Singapore gay community upon the launch of the groundbreaking book "SQ21: Singapore Queers in the 21st Century" in 2006. Since then, he has also published an anthology of his poems entitled, "last boy" and other works.
Currently, he is based at Nanyang Technological University, working on a PhD project — a magical realist novel based on the precolonial history and legends of Singapore. He is trying to use these old stories to find a new way to imagine Singaporeans' collective identity. He has also been busy editing a book of vintage Singaporean horror fiction for Epigram Books — A Mosque in the Jungle: Classic Ghost Stories. The latter is a compilation by the late pioneering politician Othman Wok, originally written in Malay from the 1950s to the 1980s. Ng feels that the stories are not just delightfully creepy but also a fascinating window into the world of independence-era Malaya which was much more cosmopolitan and sophisticated than people remember.
Early life[edit | edit source]
Ng lived in Hong Kong with his parents for three years during his childhood. On his return to Singapore, he attended the Anglo-Chinese School.
Tertiary education[edit | edit source]
He graduated from Columbia University, USA, where he majored in Comparative Literature, Creative Writing and Coming Out. His writing teachers at Columbia University included Louise Rose, Steve Austin, Paul Violi and Timothy Donnelly.
Through the initiative of the Creative Arts Programme, he underwent mentorship schemes with the poets Lee Tzu Pheng and Angeline Yap, as well as worked on playwriting under Theatrework's Greenhouse Project and The Necessary Stage's Playwright's Cove.
Publications[edit | edit source]
His poems have been published in the poetry anthologies "First Words", "onewinged", "No Other City" and "Love Gathers All", as well as the journals "the2ndRule", "QRLS", "Softblow", "Quarto", "Asian Journal" and "Queer". In 1998, he won first prize in the NUS Poetry Competition, and in 2003, fared similarly at the Writers' Week Poetry Slam.
He won SPH-Theatreworks' 24-hour Playwriting Competition two years in a row, in 1998 and 1999, and has been published in the play anthology "5 under 25". His performed plays include "Serve' (The Ordinary Theatre), "Snake" (Stage Right), "Redhill Blues" (Creative Arts Alumni Programme, Republic Polytechnic), "Hungry" (Theatreworks, Singapore Polytechnic, Anderson Secondary School and International Islamic University, Malaysia). One of his plays formed the core of "Poetic Licence", a performance poetry production by STAGES presented in 2002 and 2005.
In August 2006, he published a collection of gay, lesbian and bisexual Singaporeans' coming out stories, "SQ21: Singapore Queers in the 21st Century". In October 2006, he published his first collection of poetry, "Last Boy".
Ng is perhaps best known internationally for his short fiction, beginning with "Agnes Joaquim, Bioterrorist" in Fish Eats Lion: New Singaporean Speculative Fiction (anth 2012) edited by Jason Eric Lundberg. Later stories have been assembled as Lion City: Stories (coll 2018). "Lion City" in Starry Island: New Writing from Singapore (anth 2014) unpacks, primarily in a Near Future Zoo, a dance of mutual recognition between an Android and a lion metamorphosed into her boyfriend; " The Boy, the Swordfish, the Bleeding Island" (Autumn 2015 LONTAR) provides multiple Alternate History versions of a myth of origin for Singapore; other tales variously and pregnantly traverse a wide range of modes and outcomes.
Performances[edit | edit source]
Ng also regards himself as a performer, in addition to being a writer. He performed slam poetry pieces for ContraDiction, Singapore's first gay poetry reading event held in 2005, and was a co-organiser and performer in its sequel, ContraDiction 2, in 2006.
He delivered a lecture on Western gay history during IndigNation 2006, Singapore's second gay pride season.
He continues to perform his poetry in events such as his book launches, at literary events and at charity functions in support of arts venues such as The Substation.
Bibliography[edit | edit source]
- Last Boy (Firstfruits Publications, 2006) Template:ISBN
- Loud Poems For A Very Obliging Audience (Math Paper Press, 2016) Template:ISBN
- A Book of Hims (Math Paper Press, 2017) Template:ISBN
- SQ21: Singapore Queers in the 21st Century (Oogachaga Counseling and Support, 2006) Template:ISBN
- Eating Air (Firstfruits Publications, 2006) Template:ISBN
- On His Wings: Soaring (2008) Template:OCLC
- Lion City (Epigram, 2018) Template:ISBN
- 251 (2007)
- Georgette (2007)
- The Last Temptation of Stamford Raffles (2008)
- First Words: A Selection of Works by Young Writers in Singapore (Unipress, 1996) Template:ISBN
- Onewinged: An Anthology of Young Writing (Unipress, 2001) Template:ISBN
- Roots and Wings: A Selection of Works by Writers from the Creative Arts Programme (Gifted Education Branch, Ministry of Education, 2009) Template:ISBN
- GASPP: A Gay Anthology of Singapore Poetry & Prose (Ethos Books, 2010) Template:ISBN
- Eastern Heathens: An Anthology of Subverted Asian Folklore (Ethos Books, 2013) Template:ISBN
- HEAT: A Southeast Asian Urban Anthology (Buku Fixi, 2016) Template:ISBN
References[edit | edit source]
- "last boy", by Ng Yi-Sheng (2006, firstfruits publications), ISBN: 981-05-6309-4