QLRS: Dusty Gems

Since 2011, when I reviewed Tan Tarn How’s Six Plays, I’ve made it a point to review a Singaporean literary text for each Jul issue of the Quarterly Literary Review, Singapore (QLRS).

This year, I’ve reviewed Noon at Five O’Clock: The Collected Short Stories of Arthur Yap (Edited by Angus Whitehead).

Dusty Gems
Collection highlights little-known area of Arthur Yap’s work

Edited by Angus Whitehead, an assistant professor of English literature at the National Institute of Education in Singapore, Noon at Five O’Clock: The Collected Short Stories of Arthur Yap is a volume of eight short stories that comes on the back of The Collected Poems of Arthur Yap (NUS Press, 2013). Both volumes arrive eight years after Yap’s passing — a timely reminder of the 1983 Cultural Medallion winner’s contribution to Singapore’s arts scene in a milieu currently predisposed to lauding the “pioneer generation”.

While Yap’s poetry is synonymous with the Singapore literary canon, it is the mention of his short stories that pulls the reader up short: the average literature reader in my generation, and later, is probably unaware that Yap wrote fiction. Thus, kudos must go to Whitehead for his imagination and insight in tracking down and putting together this volume, so that the breadth of Yap’s talents can be fully appreciated by a wider audience.


About the author

Laremy Lee

A versatile educator, writer and editor, Laremy Lee (李庭辉) has the uncanny knack of being one of the few among his generation in Singapore who crafts compelling stories in different genres.

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