Young & published

Young & published

Stories of teenage romance, mystery-solving and how young people are coping with a changing world are best told by teens, for teens. That belief has spurred Singapore's young turks to put pen to paper, resulting in a range of literary works of their own.

No longer content with reading comics or young adult fiction written by older people, several first-time authors aged 12 to 20 - from the Linkster generation - have published at least five fiction texts in the last six months.

A spike in the number of first-time scribes being published here is discernable, said Mr Kenneth Quek, deputy director of the National Book Development Council of Singapore. under five publishers - including Epigram Books, Bubbly Books, Jemari Seni and Crimson Earth - and written in three languages. That they encompass a wide range of genres, from philosophical musings to fantasy adventures, further underscores the fact that they represent a diverse cross-section of young people.

WHY THEY WRITE

The chief motivator for the spurt of creative output is a lack of engaging content in the market.

The story of Veenavum Tholaintha Pathakkamun - Veena And The Missing Emblem, a mystery novella written in Tamil - for one, addresses the theme of rediscovering history and heritage, a teenage take on a topic that only its author, Arati Arundhati Vijayanand, could have offered.

At 12, the Secondary 1 student of Cedar Girls' Secondary School was not only hard-pressed to find exciting books which were accessible for those her age, she was also frustrated at how "most literary texts use language which is complex and boring".

"If you were told to put the books down, you'd put them down and not continue," she said. "As I was not interested in the texts I was reading, I thought I'd write my own."

So she imagined the tale of Veena, a prefect who forms a team of sleuthhounds to recover a 180-year-old school emblem. The book has had a positive response from students, teachers and public libraries, selling at least 200 copies so far.

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