Over the past few months, I’ve been part of a team at the British Council Singapore, scheming, building, writing, testing, re-testing and clocking up screen-time to create Writing the City, an online community for new, emerging and established writers from Singapore and beyond.
It’s an exciting project for me. Writing Communities are very important to me – I’ve been part of the Vineyard – an international community for poets run by Jacob Sam-La Rose – for several years, and it’s absolutely essential to my writing process. The encouragement from other poets, the honest and thoughtfully given feedback and the sharing between emerging and more experienced writers are things I couldn’t do without. Writing the City is much bigger in scope and encompasses all genres of creative writing, but I hope that its members will be able to feel the benefits I have from being part of a writing community. I’ve written a little about this on Birkbeck’s Writers’ Hub.
One of the best things about Writing the City is the panel of experienced writers from Singapore and the UK that supports it. These include Singapore Literature Prize-winner Suchen Christine Lim, UK novelist Jeremy Sheldon, poet/playwright Ng Yi-Sheng and Julia Bell, author of the Creative Writing Coursebook. Lim & Sheldon have created a series of six short films on ways to begin ‘writing the city’, with their own reflections on writing, excerpts from stories by themselves and others and creative challenges to the audience. A new film will be featured on the site each month from March. There are also articles, interviews, writing tips and educational materials to look forward to.
Writing the City launches today and anyone can sign up: civiclife.sg/writingthecity. For Valentine’s Day, we’re running a one day writing competition, City Loves, for the most creative four-line love poem or 140 character love story. To enter, click here. You can also visit the Civic Life blog, where I blog about goings on at Writing the City.