Welcome to Suchen Christine Lim’s official website. Suchen was born in Malaysia but educated in Singapore. In 2012, she received the Southeast Asia Write Award for her body of work.
Suchen Christine Lim’s most recent novel, The River’s Song, was launched during the Singapore Writers’ Fest 2013, and in London 2014. It was featured in Kirkus Reviews as one of “The Best Books of 2015”.
In 1992, Suchen’s third novel, Fistful Of Colours, was awarded the Inaugural Singapore Literature Prize. Critics have described her first novel, Rice Bowl, as “a landmark publication on post-independence Singapore”, and A Bit Of Earth as “a literary masterwork as well as a historical document” that was “un-put-downable – a sure sign of a master storyteller.”
A short story from Suchen’s The Lies That Build A Marriage, was made into a film for national television, and she is featured in Writing The City, commissioned by British Council, Singapore. She is also a children’s writer and has published many children’s picture books, which have been adopted by the Ministry of Education for kindergartens and primary schools.
The recipient of a Fulbright grant is also a Fellow of the International Writers’ Program, University of Iowa, and its former International Writer-in-Residence. She was Moniack Mhor’s writer-in-residence, Scotland, in 2005, and has returned to the UK several times as an Arvon Tutor to conduct writing workshops and read at the Edinburgh Book Festival. A Visiting Fellow in Creative Writing, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore in 2011, Suchen has also held writing residencies in the Philippines, Myanmar, South Korea, Australia, and the United Kingdom.
Insights from this excerpt of an interview:
Prof. Mohammad A. Quayum:
Let me begin by asking you a question that I believe you have asked yourself many times, “Why, Suchen, why write?” Why do you write? Why and how is writing important to you?
Suchen Christine Lim:
‘I have often asked myself that question. To begin with: I did not set out to be a writer. As a child, I wanted to sell chicken porridge. As a teenager in the late sixties, I was a romantic. I dreamt of making revolutionary changes for a better, kinder Singapore. I was with a band of students, led by a Catholic nun. We were out to change Singapore. In the sixties and seventies, Singapore was a hard piece of rock without a heart. Economic survival and a utilitarian philosophy formed the basis of major national policy decisions. And we are still living with that legacy.
I was a failed revolutionary who became a teacher who became a writer. There you are. The sentence sums up my life. And reduces it. My life is richer and far more complicated. Where is my life as lover, daughter, wife or mother? I write because writing keeps me sane and out of trouble. Sometimes I despair because the world is full of pain and violence. Writing gives me the illusion I am doing something worthwhile and non-violent.’
~ in Peninsular Muse, Mohammad A Quayum (ed)
Suchen Christine Lim was born in Malaysia in 1948. She grew up on both sides of the causeway that separates Malaysia from Singapore. She came to Singapore at age 14, studied in the Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus schools, and the National University of Singapore. She taught in a junior college and worked as a curriculum specialist in the Ministry of Education. Suchen resigned in 2003 to write full time.