Wonder Women Writers
We have many female heroes (and superheroes), but some of our favourites are those who have created heroes of their own—women doing wondrous work as writers.
For this year's International Women's Day, we thought we'd shine the spotlight on our local female literary heroes who have created their own female heroes within the pages of their books. Here are some of them:
Once We Were There by Bernice Chauly. A successful journalist, Delonix Regia (incidentally, that's the scientific name of the flame of the forest—which befits her fiery personality), seems to have everything: a loving husband, a beautiful daughter and bright future. But one day, her baby girl disappears, and the evidence points to child traffickers. Delonix decides to go after them and ends up in the underbelly of the city, facing dangers at every corner with nothing but her grim determination to save her child. But it comes at a cost—the question is can Del pay the price?
The Lights That Find Us by Anittha Thanabalan. On Deepavali, Shreya's jealousy of her brother's bond with her dad causes her to do something that splits her family—an act that she has regretted every moment since. One day, she gets a visit from a spiritual being who shows her what needs to be done to mend that rift. But righting the wrong isn't as easy as slapping on a band-aid, and the path of penance is a painful one.
The Gatekeeper by Nuraliah Norasid. The winning novel of the 2018 Singapore Book Awards centres around Ria, who can turn people to stone with just one look. She and her sister Barani are banished to the underworld community where beings marginalised from society seek shelter. While acting as a gatekeeper to defend them, she meets a human, Eedric. His presence poses a conundrum when she starts falling for him, as Ria has to choose between the familiar world that's rooted in the past or a future that's mired in uncertainty—which could possibly lead to disastrous results.
Sofia and the Utopia Machine by Judith Huang. In this YA thriller, Sofia, like any teenager, has dreams of a better life that's void of schoolwork, nasty schoolmates and adults who just don't understand. So when she finds a portal that allows her to build her dream world, her own personal utopia, she is understandably excited. Unfortunately, that portal happens to be part of an experiment by the authorities, who don't like young girls messing about with their things.
Misdirection by Ning Cai. In this first book of the Savant Trilogy, Parkour champ Maxine Schooling wakes from a three-year coma to learn that she is the sole survivor of a murderous attack that killed her family. She decides to find the killer and avenge her family, but there's another problem: a serial killer is on the loose—and Maxine could possibly end up being the next target.
Inheritance by Balli Kaur Jaswal. Amrit, a young woman, is seen as the black sheep of her family. So when she disappears for several days, the family's big fear is that some harm will befall her—it's that she’ll do something in public that will make them look bad. However, when she finally returns, she seems to be a totally different person. The debut novel of one of Singapore's top contemporary female writers is an interesting look at life in Singapore that is both familiar and foreign at the same time.
Nimita's Place by Akshita Nanda. In 1944 India, Nimita Khosla is forced into a life dictated by her parents and political instability, as she is compelled to move. Decades later, her granddaughter Nimita flees to Singapore to carve a new life and escape the trappings she sees back in India. Two women, separated by distance and time, find themselves facing the same quandaries—can they overcome them?
Teaching Cats to Jump Hoops by You Jin. A teacher finds herself confronted with a class of misfits and loners, rebellious dropouts and overbearing, even abusive parents. But despite all this, she is determined to reach out to her students. Cultural Medallion winner You Jin's warm and humorous novel is a must-read for those who want to know what it truly means to be a real-life superhero.
The Good, the Bad and the PSLE by Monica Lim. When you're a mum to two kids facing the biggest trials of their lives—school—you have to take everything with a pinch of salt. Or in Ling's case, probably a 2kg bag's worth. From dealing with exam stress (for Ling, not her kids) to trying to be the perfect mum, it's a rollercoaster ride that will long be remembered.
Goodbye, Mount Emily by Low Ying Ping. The thrilling finale in the Mount Emily series sees best friends Patsy and Elena facing the biggest uncertainty in their lives—finishing their 'O' Levels and leaving school. But there's also unfinished business with the Midnight Warriors—time travellers that can threaten their existence forever—can Patsy and Elena come out top (an also ace their final exams)?
Check out our full collection of female writers here.