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NTU hosts landmark conference on contemporary literature and the arts

The latest works by some of Singapore's leading writers and poets and their international peers will come under the spotlight at The Contemporary, an international conference of literature and the arts, organised by the Nanyang Technological University (NTU).

Presented by the University's Division of English and the Centre for Liberal Arts and Social Sciences (CLASS) programme, The Contemporary conference will feature prominent local writers and poets, such as Suchen Christine Lim, Ng Yi-Sheng and Sim Wai Chew, who will be reading their new work at a special session on Friday June 24 evening.

More than 100 writers, arts and education policy-makers, academics and students from around the world are expected to converge at NTU's School of Humanities and Social Sciences for The Contemporary conference over three days, from June 24 to 26.

Associate Professor Cornelius Murphy, Associate Dean (Undergraduate Studies) at NTU's College of Humanities, Arts, & Social Sciences, and Head of the Division of English, says, "This conference marks a milestone in the history of Singapore's literary arts, as it is one of the biggest literature conferences to be held here in recent years, with participants from over 40 countries."

"The conference also complements NTU's efforts to make our mark internationally and promote research excellence in humanities and the arts, by bringing together the best of East and West," Associate Professor Murphy adds. Under the NTU 2015 strategic blueprint unveiled last year, the University aims to make its global stamp in five key areas the best of East and West, sustainability, healthcare, new media, and innovation.

The conference, supported by the Embassies of Ireland and the United States of America, will see presenters address a variety of topics, ranging from contemporary drama, the secular and spiritual in contemporary fiction, science, trans-nationalism and travel.

The works of contemporary artists, dramatists and writers from Asia, Europe and North America, such as Yasmin Ahmad, Fritjof Capra, Bret Easton Ellis, Ian McEwan and Muriel Spark, will also be discussed. In addition, the conference will feature a dedicated symposium that takes a fresh look at the contributions of Irish literary star Mr Flann O'Brien on the occasion of the centenary of his birth. Mr O'Brien's international popularity surged when one of his books appeared in the hit television drama series, Lost.

The key speakers include one of Singapore's most talented and distinguished writers and other renowned international literary figures and theorists:

  • Shirley Chew, Emeritus Professor of Commonwealth and Postcolonial Literatures at the University of Leeds and Visiting Professor of English, NTU;
  • Reed Dasenbrock, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, University of Hawaii at Manoa;
  • Brian McHale, Distinguished Humanities Professor of English in the Ohio State University;
  • Brian Richardson, Professor, Department of English, University of Maryland;
  • Ronald Schleifer, George Lynn Cross Research Professor of English and Adjunct Professor in the College of Medicine, University of Oklahoma;
  • Lisa Samuels, Associate Professor, Faculty of Arts, University of Auckland; and
  • Keith Hopper, Fellow at Oxford University, United Kingdom.

Other speakers at the conference are drawn from various leading universities within and outside Singapore, including NTU's own professors and PhD students from the Division of English and National Institute of Education.

Registration remains open throughout the conference. More details are available at:


Contact: Feisal Abdul Rahman
Nanyang Technological University

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