by Daren Shiau
Preorders will be mailed out in mid-September
Hailed as “the definitive Singaporean novel”, this new edition of Heartland is accompanied by a new preface by author Daren Shiau and a publisher’s foreword that contextualises the novel’s imprint on the Singapore literary landscape since its first publication in 1999.
An iconic work, Heartland explores the paradox of rootedness and rootlessness in fast-changing Singapore. Set in the early 1990s, the novel follows the years of Wing Seng as he leaves school and is conscripted into full-time National Service. As Wing tries to reconcile his past with his future amid transitions through different phases of life, he finds meaning in his intense attachment to his surrounding landscape. Yet, as relationships and the years slip by, Wing is forced to question his own certainties and the wisdom of the people he values.
Set in Singapore’s heartland at the turn of the century, Heartland’s capturing of the texture of everyday life provides the backdrop essential to the bildungsroman’s exploration of identity, belonging and connection in an increasingly urbanised Singapore.
About the Author
Daren Shiau was born in 1971, and is a Singaporean writer and editor. Heartland received the Singapore Literature Prize Commendation Award in 1998, and in 2007 was adapted into an English literature school text on the Singapore-Cambridge GCE ‘O’-Level syllabus. The novel was also made into a telemovie in 2015. A recipient of the Young Artist Award (Literature), Shiau’s other works include acclaimed poetry collection, Peninsular: Archipelagos and Other Islands (2000) and a microfiction collection, Velouria (2007). He currently serves as Co-Chair of the Singapore Writers Festival’s advisory panel.
“The definitive Singaporean novel” —Lonely Planet
“There is a poetic clarity to Shiau's writing that transforms ordinary landscapes we Singaporeans stride past unseeingly every day into literary mise-en-scène.”
—The Straits Times
“A personal vision. A personal response. That is what Shiau has developed to a remarkable extent.”
—Edwin Thumboo, Emeritus Professor at NUS, Cultural Medallion Recipient for Literature
“Daren Shiau’s Heartland is one of the first Singapore novels in English to render the experience of living in heartlands a central theme and to link it crucially to an investigation of identity and place… [the text] seek[s] implicitly to claim the heartland space and the figure of the heartlander as authentically Singaporean, disclosing to differing extents and levels of self-consciousness, the cultural, social, and political fissures in Singapore society, as well as the limits of imagining alternatives.”
—Angelia Poon, Associate Professor of Literature at NTU, from ‘Common Ground, Multiple Claims: Representing and Constructing Singapore’s “Heartland”’, Asian Studies Review (2013)
“Heartland is a song to the ground, full of questions of understated irony, from a person in love with his nation.”
—Dave Chua, author of Gone Case and The Beating and Other Stories
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ISBN: 978-981-18-1120-3 (paperback) | 978-981-18-1145-6 (e-book)
Published: September 2021
Dimension: 130mm x 200mm