- About the Author
Winner, Singapore Literature Prize, 2010
Awardee, SEA Write award, 2019
A Singaporean retires, migrates and then returns. But, he slowly finds, there is no simple return to the place called home.
Once a well-known public figure who contributed to the country, he is now outside the rush of workdays, on the fringe of the city he barely recognises, distanced from his wife and son, even as he loves them.
A letter comes from the government and he begins the journey. In the present, he must find a way to face the new men of authority. In the past, he must confront old sacrifices and struggles.
He regrets. He loves. He cycles and discovers...
City of Small Blessings is layered and nuanced. Telling the story of one man, it is a complex lens that exposes the tragedies and blessings in Singapore.
“The novel's ambitious scope and layered execution means City of Small Blessings will more likely be remembered as an important marker in the history of the Singapore novel.”
—Quarterly Literary Review Singapore
Simon Tay is a writer, public intellectual and international lawyer in Singapore.
For his creative writing, in 2019, he was awarded the SEA Write award – the prestigious regional award. His novel, City of Small Blessings, won Singapore’s national Literature Prize in 2010. His earlier works Stand Alone (1991) and ‘5’ (1985) were Highly Commended by the National Book Development Council of Singapore and, in 1995, Simon was named a Singapore Young Artist.
Sometimes referenced as Singapore’s answer to Haruki Murakami, his writing is known to blend literary and darker elements and facts and public events. His other works include Middle and First (2016) stories of his generation in Singapore, Alien Asian (1997) reflections on his time in the USA, and a new book (2024), about his late father who was the pioneer generation spy chief for Singapore.
Simon has received resident fellowships from the Iowa Writing Program and the Bellagio Center of the Rockefeller Foundation. He has also read and spoken at international literary festivals. His works have been excerpted in anthologies about Singaporean and South East Asian literary writing. Other artists have responded to his writing, with collaborations in drama, dance and film.
Cover Type: Paperback
Page Count: 220
Year Published: 2023
Size: 115mm x 180mm