Ng Yi-Sheng



Ng Yi-Sheng (b. 25 November 1980, Singapore–) is a fulltime writer whose controversial literary works have garnered much critical acclaim.1 Besides writing fiction, poetry, drama, critiques and non-fiction, he is also actively involved in theatre, with his plays staged by various theatre groups.2 Ng won the SPH-TheatreWorks 24-hour Playwriting Competition in 1998 and 1999 consecutively, while his debut poetry collection, Last Boy, garnered him the Singapore Literature Prize in 2008.3 His book, SQ21: Singapore Queers in the 21st Century, was named the best non-fiction work of 2006 by The Straits Times newspaper, and in 2008 the paper included him as one of the “30 under 30” promising young talents in the arts.4

Education
Born in Singapore on 25 November 1980, Ng studied at Anglo-Chinese School and Raffles Junior College before going to Columbia University in New York, United States, to study comparative literature and creative writing.5 He completed a Master of Arts degree in creative writing at the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom.6


Ng’s interest in creative writing and poetry began as a student. In 1996, he participated in the Ngee Ann Polytechnic Short Story Writing Competition and bagged the first prize.7 He started work on his award-winning debut poetry collection, Last Boy (2006), during his sophomore year at Raffles Junior College.8

Ng’s literary development was aided by the support and encouragement he received from the Creative Arts Programme whilst in college, a scheme designed to nurture young writers by providing mentorship and creative opportunities.9 Prior to university, he attended playwriting mentorships at TheatreWorks and The Necessary Stage.10 Ng’s mentors include poets Lee Tzu Pheng and Angeline Yap, and playwright Haresh Sharma.11

Literary career
Publications
Ng’s literary talents were recognised from an early age. He won first prize in the National University of Singapore’s Poetry Competition in 1999, and also the first prize in the Writers’ Week Poetry Slam organised by night spot Velvet Underground in 2003.12 His debut poetry collection, Last Boy, which deals with identity issues and sociocultural concerns, won him the Singapore Literature Prize in 2008.13 His poems have been featured in various literary anthologies, including Eye On the World (1998),14 No Other City: The Ethos Anthology of Urban Poetry (2000),15 Love Gathers All: The Philippines-Singapore Anthology of Love Poetry (2002)16 and Over There: Poems from Singapore and Australia (2008).17


Ng both contributed and served as editor for projects such as First Words (1996)18 and Onewinged (2001), two anthologies of young writers’ works put together by the Creative Arts Programme Alumni.19 In 2006, Ng published SQ21: Singapore Queers in the 21st Century, a collection of coming-out stories addressing issues of sexuality and social misconceptions. Based on first-hand interviews, the book chronicles the love stories of 15 individuals and their struggles for acceptance.20 The work was named the best non-fiction book of 2006 by The Straits Times.21

Commissioned by the National Library Board and the National Book Development Council of Singapore, Ng undertook a film novelisation of Kelvin Tong and Jasmine Ng’s local independent film, Eating Air.22 Revolving around teenage bikers, the novel was published in 2008.23

Ng was the lead writer for his alma mater’s commemorative book, On His Wings: Soaring Twenty Years On (2008), which traces the history of the Anglo-Chinese School.24 In addition, has been published in various journals including Asian Journal and Quarto (both publications by the University of Columbia ), The 2nd Rule Journal and the Quarterly Literary Review of Singapore.25 Besides contributing to various websites such as Trevvy and Fridae, Ng has also written for the children’s newspaper, What’s Up, and reviewed theatre performances for The Straits Times, The Flying Inkpot and The Substation Magazine.26

Playwriting
Ng won the SPH-TheatreWorks 24-hour Playwriting Competition in 1998 and 1999. Among his works that have been staged include Hungry by TheatreWorks (1998), Snake by Stage Right (1999), Redhill Blues by the CAP Alumni (1999) and Serve by The Ordinary Theatre (2006).27 In 2007, he served as playwright for Musical Theatre Ltd’s Georgette, a play based on the life of painter Georgette Chen, and for Toy Factory’s 251, which was about the life of former pornographic actress Annabel Chong. Together with TheatreWorks’s multidisciplinary art collective V.I.S.T.A. Lab, Ng wrote and performed in the plays, Impetus and Interference, in 2007.28 In 2008, his play, Reservoir, was staged by TheatreWorks.29 Another play, The Last Temptation of Sir Stamford Raffles, was staged by Wild Rice at the Drama Centre as part of that year’s Singapore Theatre Festival.30

Gay rights activism
Ng has never shied away from his homosexuality.31 Many of the poems in Last Boy centre on his reconciliation and acceptance of his sexuality.32


Besides working on SQ21: Singapore Queers in the 21st Century, a project that highlights the challenges faced by gays, lesbians and bisexuals, Ng has also participated in events that seek to create more awareness about alternative sexualities.33 In 2005, he performed slam poetry for ContraDiction, Singapore’s first gay poetry recital, and both co-organised and performed at various subsequent editions of ContraDiction. Ng has also been a co-organiser for the annual local gay pride festival known as IndigNation.34

Ng’s vocal and affirmative stance on the need for society to value those of different sexual orientations has not gone without its challenges. His work, Lee Low Tar, was banned from public performance at IndigNation 2007.35 In 2009, he attracted a fair amount of controversy when he was dropped by the Ministry of Education as a mentor in the Creative Arts Programme just one month into his mentorship. Ng felt that he had been fired because of his participation in political and gay rights activism.36

Notable distinctions
Besides being a winner of the Singapore Literature Prize, Ng has also been lauded for his plays and publications.37 In 2005, The Straits Times identified him as one of the “50 Young People to Look Out For”.38 He was also listed in the same newspaper’s “Power List 2007: Faces to Watch” and as one of the “30 Under 30” promising young people in the arts in 2008.39


Publications
2000:
Onewinged: An Anthology of Young Writing (project editor)

2006: SQ21: Singapore Queers in the 21st Century; Last Boy
2008: Eating Air; On His Wings: Soaring Twenty Years on

Anthologies
1996:
First Words A Selection of Works by Young Writers in Singapore (co-editor)
2000: No Other City: The Ethos Anthology of Urban Poetry
2002: Love Gathers All: The Philippines-Singapore Anthology of Love Poetry
2003: 5 under 25: Prize-Winning Plays from the Writers’ Lab
2008: Over There: Poems from Singapore and Australia

Plays
1998:
Hungry, Theatreworks

1999: Redhill Blues, Creative Arts Programme Alumni; Snake, Stage Right40
2006: Serve, The Ordinary Theatre41
2007: 251, Toy Factory Theatrical Productions; Georgette, Musical Theatre Ltd; Frostbite, Short and Sweet Singapore42
2008: The Last Temptation of Stamford Raffles, Wild Rice; Reservoir, TheatreWorks43

Achievements
1996:
First prize, Ngee Ann Polytechnic Short Story Writing Competition.44
1998:
Fourth prize, Commonwealth Essay Writing Competition;45 First prize, SPH-TheatreWorks 24-hour Playwriting Competition46

1999: First prize, SPH-TheatreWorks 24-hour Playwriting Competition; First prize, National University of Singapore Poetry Competition47
2003: First prize, Velvet Underground Singapore Slam for Writer’s Week48
2007: First prize, Very Short Story Writing Competition, Culturepush49
2008: Singapore Literature Prize, National Book Development Council of Singapore50



Author

Sheena Kumari Singh




References
1. Ng, Y-S. (2008). Eating air. Singapore: National Library Board; National Book Development Council of Singapore, p. 118. (Call no.: RSING S828 NG); The power list 2007: Faces to watch. (2007, December 6). The Straits Times, p. 71. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
2. Ng, Y-S. (2008). Eating air. Singapore: National Library Board; National Book Development Council of Singapore, pp. 118–119. (Call no.: RSING S828 NG)
3. Ng, Y-S. (2006). Last boy. Singapore: Firstfruits Publications, p. 65. (Call no.: RSING S821 NG); Yap, S. (2008, December 4). Last boy scores top honours for poet. The Straits Times, p. 33. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
4. Ng, Y-S. (2008). Eating air. Singapore: National Library Board; National Book Development Council of Singapore, p. 119. (Call no.: RSING S828 NG); Eddino Abdul Hadi, et al. (2008, December 8). 30 under 30. The Straits Times, p. 78. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
5. Yap, S. (2008, December 4). Last Boy scores top honours for poet. The Straits Times, p. 33. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Koh, H. T. (2008, December 31). Yi-Sheng’s arts grand slam. My Paper. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/
6. Ng, Y-S., & Koh, D. (Eds.). (2016). Forty-four winning plays from the TheatreWorks 24-hour playwriting competition (Vol. 3). Singapore: TheatreWorks: Husken-Ulbrich Books, p. 19. (Call no.: RSING S822 SOR)
7. Ng, Y-S. (2009, January 6). Ng Yi-Sheng’s CV [Blog post]. Retrieved 2016, November 1 from Ng Yi-Sheng’s CV website: http://lastboycv.blogspot.sg/
8. Yap, S. (2008, December 4). Last boy scores top honours for poet. The Straits Times, p. 33. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
9. Ng, Y-S., & Aw, G., et al. (Eds.). (2001). Onewinged: An anthology of young writing. Singapore: UniPress, p. xii. (Call no.: RSING S828 ONE); Ng, Y-S. (2006). Last boy. Singapore: Firstfruits Publications, p. 64. (Call no.: RSING S821 NG)
10. Ng, Y-S. (2006). Last boy. Singapore: Firstfruits Publications, p. 64. (Call no.: RSING S821 NG)
11. Ng, Y-S. (2008). Eating air. Singapore: National Library Board; National Book Development Council of Singapore, p. 119. (Call no.: RSING S828 NG)
12. Koh, H. T. (2008, December 31). Yi-Sheng’s arts grand slam. My Paper. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/
13. Yap, S. (2008, December 4). Last Boy scores top honours for poet. The Straits Times, p. 33. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
14. Pakir, A., & Goh, D. (Eds.). (1998). Eye on the world: Imprinting the journey. Singapore: UniPress, Centre for the Arts, National University of Singapore. (Call no.: RSING 820 EYE)
15. Pang, A., & Lee, A. (Eds.). (2000). No other city: The ethos anthology of urban poetry. Singapore: Ethos Books. (Call no.: RSING 821 NO)
16. Sunico, R. C., et al. (Eds). (2002). Love gathers all: The Philippines-Singapore anthology of love poetry. Singapore: Ethos Books; Manila: Anvil Pub. (Call no.: RSING 821.00803543 LOV)
17. Kinselle, J., & Pang, A. (Eds). (2008). Over there: Poems from Singapore and Australia. Singapore: Ethos Books. (Call no.: RSING 808.81 OVE)
18. Toh, H. M. (Ed.). (1996). First words: A selection of works by young writers in Singapore. Singapore: UniPress. (Call no.: RSING S820 FIR)
19. Ng, Y.-S., & Aw, G. (Eds.). (2001). Onewinged: An anthology of young writing. Singapore: UniPress. (Call no.: RSING S828 ONE)
20. Ng, Y-S. (2006). SQ21: Singapore queers in the 21st century. Singapore: Oogachaga Counseling and Support. (Call no.: RSING 306.76609225957)
21. Ng, Y-S. (2008). Eating air. Singapore: National Library Board; National Book Development Council of Singapore, p. 119. (Call no.: RSING S828 NG)
22. Ng, Y-S. (2008). Eating air. Singapore: National Library Board; National Book Development Council of Singapore. (Call no.: RSING S828 NG)
23. Yap, S. (2008, June 23). Local films get novel treatment. The Straits Times, p. 49. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Ng, Y-S. (2008). Eating air. Singapore: National Library Board; National Book Development Council of Singapore, p. 119. (Call no.: RSING S828 NG)
24. Chan, C. W., et al. (Eds.). (2008). On His wings – Soaring twenty years on. Singapore: Anglo-Chinese School (Independent). (Call no.: RSING 373.5957 ON)
25. Ng, Y-S. (2006). Last boy. Singapore: Firstfruits Publications, p. 64. (Call no.: RSING S821 NG)
26. Ng, Y-S. (2008). Eating air. Singapore: National Library Board and National Book Development Council of Singapore, p. 119. (Call no.: RSING S828 NG)
27. Ng, Y-S. (2006). Last boy. Singapore: Firstfruits Publications, p. 65. (Call no.: RSING S821 NG)
28. Ng, Y-S. (2008). Eating air. Singapore: National Library Board; National Book Development Council of Singapore, p. 119. (Call no.: RSING S828 NG)
29. Chia, A. (2008, August 30). Shrine a light. The Straits Times, p. 124. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
30. Martin, M. (2008, August 13). New man at Raffles’ helm. Today, p. 30. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
31. Barokka, K., & Ng, Y-S. (Eds.). (2016). Heat: A Southeast Asian urban anthology. Petaling Jaya, Malaysia: Fixi Novo, p. 238. (Call no.: RSEA 828.995903 HEA)
32. Yap, S. (2008, December 4). Last boy scores top honours for poet. The Straits Times, p. 33. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
33. Ng, Y-S. (2006). SQ21: Singapore queers in the 21st century. Singapore: Oogachaga Counseling and Support, p. 220. (Call no.: RSING 306.76609225957); Barokka, K., & Ng, Y-S. (Eds). (2016). Heat: A Southeast Asian urban anthology. Petaling Jaya: Fixi Novo, p. 238. (Call no.: RSEA 828.995903 HEA)
34. Chew, D. (2005, August 6). Poetry in pink. Today, p. 42. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Ng, Y-S., et al. (Eds.). (2010). GASPP: A gay anthology of Singaporean poetry and prose. Singapore: The Literary Centre, p. 220. (Call no.: RSING S828 GAS); IndigNation. (2016, July 25). IndigNation 2016 [Blog post]. Retrieved 2017, February 2 from IndigNation website: https://indignationsg.wordpress.com/2016/07/25/indignation-2016/
35. Ng, Y-S. (2008). Eating air. Singapore: National Library Board; National Book Development Council of Singapore, p. 119. (Call no.: RSING S828 NG); Police cancel licence for Singapore gay forum. (2007, August 4). Today, p. 17. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
36. Chia, A. (2009, October 3). Education ministry drops arts mentor. The Straits Times, p. 109. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
37. Book a prize. (2009, January 11). The Straits Times, p. 60. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
38. Ng, Y-S. (2009, January 6). Ng Yi-Sheng’s CV [Blog post]. Retrieved 2016, November 1 from Ng Yi-Sheng’s CV website: http://lastboycv.blogspot.sg/
39. The power list 2007 faces to watch. (2007, December 6). The Straits Times, p. 71; Eddino Abdul Hadi., et al. (2008, August 8). 30 under 30. The Straits Times, p. 78. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
40. Ng, Y-S., & Aw, G. (Eds.). (2001). Onewinged: An anthology of young writing. Singapore: UniPress, p. xii. (Call no.: RSING S828 ONE)
41. Ng, Y-S. (2006). Last boy. Singapore: Firstfruits Publications, p. 65. (Call no.: RSING S821 NG)
42. Ng, Y-S. (2009, January 6). Ng Yi-Sheng’s CV [Blog post]. Retrieved 2016, November 1 from Ng Yi-Sheng’s CV website: http://lastboycv.blogspot.sg/
43. Chia, A. (2008, August 30). Shrine a light. The Straits Times, p. 124. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
44. Ng, Y-S. (2009, January 6). Ng Yi-Sheng’s CV [Blog post]. Retrieved 2016, November 1 from Ng Yi-Sheng’s CV website: http://lastboycv.blogspot.sg/
45. Ng, Y-S. (2009, January 6). Ng Yi-Sheng’s CV [Blog post]. Retrieved 2016, November 1 from Ng Yi-Sheng’s CV website: http://lastboycv.blogspot.sg/
46. Ng, Y-S. (2006). Last boy. Singapore: Firstfruits Publications, p. 65. (Call no.: RSING S821 NG)
47. Ng, Y-S. (2006). Last boy. Singapore: Firstfruits Publications, p. 65. (Call no.: RSING S821 NG)
48. Ng, Y-S. (2006). Last boy. Singapore: Firstfruits Publications, p. 65. (Call no.: RSING S821 NG)
49. Ng, Y-S. (2009, January 6). Ng Yi-Sheng’s CV [Blog post]. Retrieved 2016, November 1 from Ng Yi-Sheng’s CV website: http://lastboycv.blogspot.sg/
50. Yap, S. (2008, December 4). Last boy scores top honours for poet. The Straits Times, p. 33. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.




The information in this article is valid as at 2009 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.
 

Subject
Writers
Poets--Biography
Dramatists--Singapore--Biography
Language and literature>>Literatures>>East and Southeast Asian literature>>Singapore literature
Ng, Yi-Sheng, 1980-
Award winners--Singapore--Biography
Personalities>>Biographies>>Authors
Authors, Singaporean--Biography