A Playwright's Reading List — Verena Tay

Posted on March 28 2017

Hi Verena! Tell us more about yourself.
I am a theatre performer and director, a playwright, storyteller, fiction writer, editor, teacher of creative writing/storytelling/performance/voice and presentation skills, as well as producer (since 1986). To date, I've published four volumes of plays and two short story collections and edited twelve story anthologies, published under Math Paper Press, National Library Board and Monsoon Books. Along the way, I've earned three Masters degrees: English Literature, Voice Studies and Creative Writing (Fiction). I am now taking it slow, writing my first novel for a PhD in Creative Writing at Swansea University.

Some fun facts about me – I was part of the original cast of Kuo Pan Kun's Mama Looking for Her Cat (1988). My first proper full-time paid job was being an Information Officer at Public Affairs, MINDEF (1993-94). Since 1985, I've been an avid fan of Sting. Last but not least, I love chocolate and steamed dumplings of all sorts, but I hate peanut butter and duck.

What are you currently reading?

Staying Alive: Real Poems for Unreal Times – Neil Astley
All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation ­– Rebecca Traister
Iban Dreams – Golda Mowe
The Seven Basic Plots: Why We Tell Stories
– Christopher Booker
The Valley of Amazement – Amy Tan

Can you recommend your best five titles to us?

American Gods – Neil Gaiman
The Wayang at Eight Milestone: Stories & Essays ­– Gregory Nalpon
The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories – Angela Carter
What Gives Us Our Names – Alvin Pang
Tender Delirium – Tania De Rozario

And why?
American Gods is an epic in modern times that blows the mind. The Wayang at Eight Milestone tells the story of Singapore from another era, portrayed with uncanny sensitivity. The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories is filled with familar tales retold with a dark feminist twist, and oh, such powerful language! Needless to say, What Gives Us Our Names is a perceptive capturing of human nature. Lastly, Tender Delirium is written with such fearsome, passionate energy.


More about Verena Tay at
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