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Alfian bin Sa'at (born July 18, 1977) is a Singaporean writer, poet and playwright. He is a Muslim of Minangkabau, Javanese and Hakka descent,.[1] He is known for his provocative works and is often referred to as his country's enfant terrible of literature.

Biography[edit]

Early life[edit]

An alumnus of Tampines Primary School, Raffles Institution, and Raffles Junior College, Alfian was the chairman of the drama societies, both known as Raffles Players, in both RI and RJC. He also took part in the Creative Arts Programme twice - once at fifteen, and a second time at seventeen - both times under the mentorship of Haresh Sharma. He has since returned to the programme as an occasional mentor.[2][3] During his two years at RJC, Alfian received the Kripalani Award for Outstanding Contribution to Creative Arts.[4] Alfian attended medical classes at the National University of Singapore but did not graduate.

Career[edit]

In 1998, Alfian published his first collection of poetry, One Fierce Hour at the age of twenty-one. The book was acclaimed as "truly a landmark for poetry [in Singapore]" by The Straits Times, and Alfian himself was described by Malaysia's New Straits Times as "one of the most acclaimed poets in his country... a prankish provocateur, libertarian hipster".[5]

A year later, Alfian published his first collection of short stories, Corridor, which won the Singapore Literature Prize Commendation Award. Seven of the short stories from the collection have since been adapted for television. In 2001, he published his second collection of poetry, A History of Amnesia, which was hailed by The Straits Times as "one of the most powerful collections by a Singaporean" in addition to being shortlisted for a Kiriyama Asia-Pacific Book Prize. Alfian won both the inaugural National Arts Council-Singapore Press Holdings Golden Point Award for Poetry in the same year, as well as the National Arts Council's Young Artist Award for Literature.

Alfian's plays, written in both English and Malay, have received broad attention in both Singapore and Malaysia.Template:Citation needed They have also been translated into German and Swedish, and have been read and performed in London, Zurich, Stockholm, Berlin, Hamburg and Munich. His first play was produced when he was 19, and he has had a long association as a playwright with theatre group The Necessary Stage as well as with Teater Ekamatra, a Malay theatre group known for articulating minority concerns in Chinese-majority Singapore.

Alfian is currently the resident playwright of theatre group W!LD RICE.[6] He was enrolled for an undergraduate course at the School of Communication and Information at Nanyang Technological University in 2007.[7]

Works[edit]

Plays[edit]

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English
  • Fighting (1994)
  • Black Boards, White Walls (1997)
  • Yesterday My Classmate Died (1997)
  • sex.violence.blood.gore (co-written with Chong Tze Chien) (1999)
  • Asian Boys Vol. 1 (2000)
  • What's The Difference? (2001)
  • Don't Say I Say (2001)
  • poppy dot dream (2001)
  • The Corrected Poems of Minah Jambu (2001)
  • The Optic Trilogy (2001)
  • 7 Ten: Seven Original 10-minute Plays: Not In (2003)
  • Landmarks: Asian Boys Vol. 2 (2004)
  • Tekka Voices (2004)
  • Mengapa Isa? (2004)
  • The Importance of Being Kaypoh (2005)
  • Harmony Daze (2005)
  • Confessions of 300 Unmarried Men: Blush (2006)
  • Homesick (2006)
  • Happy Endings: Asian Boys Vol 3 (2007)
  • Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (2008)
  • Beauty And The Beast (2009)
  • Cooling Off Day (2011)
  • Cook a Pot of Curry (2011)

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Malay
  • Deklamasi Malas (Declamation of Indolence) (1997)
  • Dongeng (Myth) (1997)
  • Anak Bulan di Kampung Wa' Hassan (The New Moon at Kampung Wa' Hassan) (1998)
  • Madu II (Polygamy) (1998)
  • Causeway (1998)
  • Peti Kayu Ibuku (My Mother's Wooden Chest) (translated into Malay from Kuo Pao Kun's translation of Ng Xin Yue's original Mandarin text) (1999)
  • The Miseducation of Minah Bukit (2001)
  • Tapak 7 (Seven Steps) (2001)
  • Selamat Malam Ibu (adapted from night Mother by Marsha Norman) (2003)
  • Keturunan Laksmana Tak Ada Anu (adapted from Descendants of the Eunuch Admiral by Kuo Pao Kun) (2003)
  • Minah & Monyet (Minah & Monkey) (2003)
  • Nadirah (2009)
  • Pariah (alternatively staged as Parah) (2011)
Mandarin
  • Fugitives (失控) (co-written with Ng How Wee) (2002)

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Prose[edit]

English
  • Corridor (SNP, 1999) ISBN 981-4032-40-9
  • Malay Sketches (Ethos Books, 2012) ISBN 9789810718
Malay
  • Bisik: Antologi Drama Melayu Singapura (Whisper: Anthology of Malay Singaporean Drama) (Pustaka Cipta, 2003)

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Poetry[edit]

  • One Fierce Hour (Landmark Books, 1998) ISBN 981-3065-18-4
  • A History of Amnesia (Ethos Books, 2001) ISBN 981-04-3704-8

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Awards[edit]

  • 1995 - Kripalani Award for Outstanding Contribution to Creative Arts
  • 1998 - Commendation Award by the Malay Language Council for Causeway
  • 1999 - Singapore Literature Prize Commendation Award for Corridor
  • 2001 - Golden Point Award for Poetry
  • 2001 - Young Artist Award (Singapore)|Young Artist Award for Literature
  • 2005 - Life! Theatre Awards for Best Original Script for Landmarks: Asian Boys Vol. 2
  • 2006 - FRONT Award
  • 2010 - Life! Theatre Awards for Best Original Script for Nadirah

References[edit]

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External links[edit]

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