Josephine Chia

Josephine Chia is proud of her Peranakan heritage. She is internationally published in both adult fiction and non-fiction. She was born in Kampong Potong Pasir in colonial Singapore. Her first short stories were published in SINGA, a Singapore literary journal published in the 1980s and 1990s. She has run Creative Writing workshops for the National Book Development Council, the National Arts Council, the National Library Board and the Ministry of Education’s Creative Arts Programme, and is a mentor to aspiring writers under the National Arts Council’s Mentor Access Programme (MAP) and the Ministry of Education’s Creative Arts Programme.

Books by Josephine Chia


It is 1958 and Josephine is staring at a Milo tin. She cannot make sense of the letters! To learn how to read, she needs to sell nasi lemak made by her loving mother to her neighbours in Kampong Potong Pasir, so she can have enough money to pay for school fees. Join Josephine on her quest to go to school, and on other adventures through grasslands and attap-thatched huts, to hunt for frogs and eels for food with her friends.

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In Josephine Chia’s new collection of non-fiction stories, the phasing out of attap-thatched villages, the largest mass movement in Singapore, is set against the backdrop of significant national events.

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A novel about love, forgetting and remembering. Pansy Lim, a Peranakan girl, was brought up in a seaside village in colonial Singapore in the 1940s. She inherits her mother’s love for flowers, nature, the sea, and their healing qualities. Educated by English nuns, she learns and grows to love English, literature and poetry. 

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My Mother-In-Law’s Son
 centres round a Peranakan woman, Swee Gek, who is in an abusive marriage but is constrained by the limitations of women in her time to take positiveaction. 
Her marriage is further strained by Choy Yan, the eponymous Mother-In-Law of the title, whose values are archaic and patriarchal. Taking place in a 1949-1950 Singapore that is just recovering from the onslaught of the Japanese War, Swee Gek’s Chinese husband, Wong Kum Chong, is inadvertently drawn into anti-colonial activities by a communist agitator, Teng Xin Nan.

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