Edwin Thumboo is Emeritus Professor at the National University of Singapore, and one of the pioneers of English literature in Singapore. Often identified as the ‘unofficial poet laureate’, his work has centred on national questions and the construction of a national imaginary. His poem ‘Ulysses by the Merlion’ (1979) is a major work, often referenced by other Singaporean poets, in which he weaves together classical European and Asian myths in the construction of a new myth for what was then a new nation.
Edwin has been a key figure in the construction of Singapore’s creative and national identity. He was the first Singaporean to be conferred the South-East-Asian Write Award (1979), and the first writer to be awarded Singapore’s Cultural Medallion for Literature (1980); and has won many other awards in a long and distinguished career, including the National Book Development Council prizes for poetry (1978, 1980, 1994), the ASEAN Cultural and Communication Award in Literature (1987), the Public Service Star (Bar) in 1991, and the Meritorious Service Medal in 2006. He has published eight collections of his own poetry, and edited another eight anthologies of poetry (mainly from Singapore and its local region). In addition, he has edited nine major works on literary creativity, particularly focused on the Asian region.
Jen Webb is Distinguished Professor of Creative Practice, and Director of the Centre for Creative and Cultural Research at the University of Canberra. Recent publications include Researching Creative Writing (Frontinus, 2015), Art and Human Rights: Contemporary Asian Contexts (Manchester UP, 2016), and the OUP bibliography entry for Bourdieu (2017). Her poetry includes Stolen Stories, Borrowed Lines (Mark Time, 2015), Sentences from the Archive (Recent Work Press, 2016), and Moving Targets (Recent Work Press, 2018). She is Chief Investigator on the ARC Discovery project ‘So what do you do? Graduates in the Creative and Cultural Industries’ (DP160101440).