Old times, new interest

Readers are engaging more with the past through literature, reflected in a growing appetite for home-grown historical fiction

Lieutenant Kurosawa's Errand Boy (2017), written by Warran Kalasegaran (above), follows an eight-year-old Tamil boy forced to work for the Imperial Japanese Army during its occupation of Singapore. The River's Song, by Singapore Literature Prize-winn
Lieutenant Kurosawa's Errand Boy (2017), written by Warran Kalasegaran (above), follows an eight-year-old Tamil boy forced to work for the Imperial Japanese Army during its occupation of Singapore. PHOTO: COURTESY OF WARRAN KALASEGARAN
Lieutenant Kurosawa's Errand Boy (2017), written by Warran Kalasegaran (above), follows an eight-year-old Tamil boy forced to work for the Imperial Japanese Army during its occupation of Singapore. The River's Song, by Singapore Literature Prize-winn
The River's Song, by Singapore Literature Prize-winning author Suchen Christine Lim (above), was sparked by her interest in pipa music. PHOTO: ST FILE
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Though historical fiction may be set decades, even centuries ago, it is anything but dated.

The genre is in the spotlight after Singapore writer Lee Jing-Jing's novel, How We Disappeared (2019), set largely during World War II, was longlisted for Britain's Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction last month.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 14, 2020, with the headline Old times, new interest. Subscribe