Daren Shiau (b. 1971), a novelist, poet, conservationist and lawyer in private practice qualified in Singapore, England and Wales has been described by The Arts Magazine as "among the most exciting of the post-1965 generation of writers" and cited by the travel guide Lonely Planet: Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei as the author of the "definitive Singapore novel". an Shiau was educated in Singapore at Raffles Institution, Raffles Junior College and graduated from the law faculty of its National University on the Dean's List. He was the Visiting Writer in Fall 2003 to the University of California, Berkeley (Center for Southeast Asian Studies).
The National Arts CouncilŐs Young Artist of the Year in 2002, Shiau is the author of Heartland (1999, 2002), Peninsular: Archipelagos and Other Islands (2000) and a trade monograph, Communication and the Environment (2000). Shiau's first novel, Heartland, a textbook about the paradox of rootedness and rootlessness in Singapore, received the National Book Development Council (NBDCS) Singapore Literature Prize Commendation Award and was named by Singapore's English daily The Straits Times in December 1999, along with J.M. Coetzee's Disgrace, as one of the 10 Best Books of the Year. From 2007, Heartland will be a textbook for Singapore secondary schools offering English Literature in their GCE "O-Level" curriculum.
Shiau, a Fulbright scholar and an alumnus of the East-West Center (Honolulu/Washington D.C.), has been invited to read at venues across the United States including the iconic China Institute in America (New York), and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) (Cambridge). He has also represented Singapore in international and ASEAN conferences, as well as reading tours. In 2001, Shiau together with five other Singaporean writers participated in a Pan-Australian reading tour of Canberra, Sydney and Melbourne and were hosted at the Victorian Writers Centre, and in 2004, he was a guest reader at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London.
His works have also been translated into five languages, including Mandarin and Italian, and have been featured in cross-discipline public performances by other artists, such as Bach in the Dark presented by the cellists of Tanglewood Music School and advised by Ivan Peev of the Bulgarian National Radio Symphony Orchestra, as well as Words and Works at the Ng Eng Teng Gallery.
In 2003, the Japanese community in Singapore recognised Shiau's contributions to civic education by conferring on him the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI) Foundation Education Award 2003. Shiau presently serves as a writing mentor for the Creative Arts Program Mentorship Scheme administered by the Ministry of Education and the National Arts Council's Mentor Access Program. For his other achievements, Shiau is also a recipient of the Commonwealth Youth Program Asia Award for Excellence in Youth Work 2001, the Singapore Youth Award 2000 (Community Work), the Outstanding Young Person of Singapore Award 2000 and the Ministry of the Environment Green Leaf Award in 1993. In 1993, he was selected by The Straits Times on SingaporeŐs National Day as one of "50 Faces to Watch". A decade later in 2003, he was again named by The Straits Times on National Day as one of "38 Singaporeans Who Make a Difference to Singapore". Shiau has been appointed by the Government and the private sector to head and sit on various panels and committees relating to the arts and conservation. His present appointments include the Films Appeal Committee of the Board of Film Censors, and the Boards of the Singapore Environment Council and the National Parks Board, the Commission on Environmental Law, IUCN in Switzerland as well as the Supervisory Panel of the Feedback Unit to the Ministry of Community Development. Shiau has also previously served as a Council Member on the National Youth Council.
Last modified 14 June 2006