- About the Author
Longlisted for the 2022 Epigram Books Fiction Prize
Gardens at Phoenix Park is a fictional story set against actual events, of three students who meet during the turbulent period of anti-government protests in Singapore of the late 1970s.
As these fellow travellers cross the continent of the next four decades, their relationships with each other transform in complexity against a backdrop of social and political engineering. Min Chan is detained under the Internal Security Act. Shu Peng becomes complicit in the machinations of the ruling party. And Martin comes out of the closet during the 2011 general election.
Even as the characters’ lives are shaped by events of the day, they also push back to shape a better future for themselves, as well as for the country.
“Wong Souk Yee stirs this cauldron of a tale filled to the brim with political intrigue, and brings it to boil with such precision and realism that one ought to be forgiven for mistaking it as a memoir of a political detainee who has undergone a similar ordeal. Riveting!”
–Sebastian Sim, award-winning author of And the Award Goes to Sally Bong!
“This is the intimate story of three idealistic young people interwoven with the history of a parallel Singapore. The personalities and events seem very familiar. However, there are twists and turns as counterfactuals emerge to surprise the reader just when they think they know what will happen next. Wong’s mastery as a storyteller is also evident in the details, especially the soul-crushing nature of detention without trial and the complex yet completely relatable characters. A very good read.”
–Prof Paul Tambyah, Chairman of the Singapore Democratic Party and President of the International Society for Infectious Diseases
Wong Souk Yee is the author of Death of a Perm Sec (finalist for the 2015 Epigram Books Fiction Prize and 2018 Singapore Literature Prize for Fiction) and a former political detainee, who contested the 2015 General Election as a member of the Singapore Democratic Party. She also co-founded the now-defunct theatre group Third Stage. In 1987, she was detained for allegedly taking part in a Marxist conspiracy against the government; she later co-wrote and co-directed the play Square Moon, staged in 2013, about detention without trial. Wong holds a PhD in literature and creative writing from UNSW Sydney.
Cover Type: Paperback
Page Count: 280
Year Published: 2023
Size: 225mm x 152mm