SWF First Time Confessions

We give a new meaning to an intimate get-together as we ask some of your favourite Singaporean writers and artists to talk about their firsts…from the privacy of their bedroom to yours. Each week, an artist reads a letter about their first music tape, their first rejection, their first crush, etc, (What were you thinking of?)

Please visit BooksActuallylocalbooks.sgBooks Kinokuniya and other local bookstores to pick up copies of the authors' books.



My First Escape

A rider and a writer, Nessa Anwar relates her first escape on a motorcycle.


Nessa Anwar is a writer, actor, and video producer, and a founding member of Singapore playwright collective Main Tulis Group.


My First Recipe

Joel Tan meditates on the first recipe he's received -- his mother's braised mushrooms.


Joel Tan is a Singaporean playwright based in London.


My First Period

This week, Deborah Emmanuel writes a letter to grown-up little girls about the first time she got her period.


Deborah Emmanuel is a Singaporean writer, performer, and four-time TEDx speaker.


My First Dream

Harini V reflects on her first dreams and writes a poem about that sense of wonder.


Harini V is a bilingual poet who has also organised open mic nights and literary panels over the past few years. A member of the Tamil Language Council, her Tamil poems have also been featured in the anthology Nithimisai Nagarum Koorangazhkal and Love at the Gallery 2017.


My First Rejection

Neo Hai Bin reads a letter he wrote on facing his first rejection.



Neo Hai Bin is a founding and core member of Nine Years Theatre. He has a volume of essays published as《房间絮语》.


My First Home

Balli Kaur Jaswal reads a letter to her son about the first home she lived in.


Balli Kaur Jaswal’s latest novel is The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters. Her previous novels include Inheritance, which won the Sydney Morning Herald’s Best Young Australian Novelist Award; Sugarbread, a finalist for the Epigram Fiction Books Prize and Singapore Literature Prize; and Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows which was translated into 15 languages and chosen by Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine bookclub.


My First Movie

Wayne Rée recalls the first film he watched, which made quite an impression on him as a child.


Wayne Rée is the author of the short story collection, Tales From a Tiny Room—and has contributed to anthologies such as LONTAR and Infinite Worlds. He’s also the co-creator of the wuxia/western/supernatural comic, Mr Memphis, and the narrative podcast series, Ghost Maps. You can find him online at waynereewrites.com


My First Cassette Tape

Isa Kamari remembers the first cassette tape he has ever purchased, and a significant person he meets for the first time.


Isa Kamari is a poet and novellist and has received the SEA Write Award (2006), the Cultural Medallion (2007), and the Anugerah Tun Seri Lanang (2009).


My First Movie

Reading from his letter titled "Islands in Islands", Australian spoken word poet William Beale reflects on shades of loneliness from the womb to the water. 


William Beale is an Australian spoken word poet and the author/composer of They Call Us Loud. He’s performed at the Sydney Opera House, George Town Literary Festival, White Night Melbourne and more. Beale is the former creative producer of Slamalamadingdong and co-founder of If Walls Could Talk.


My First Kiss

Not quite the first kiss story you might have imagined, Shivram Gopinath reads a letter he wrote to the famous American chocolatier, Milton Hershey. In this recollection, a familiar taste evokes flavours of memory, identity, and culture.




Shivram Gopinath is a writer, spoken word performer, and twice-winning Singapore National Poetry Slam Champion. His poetry has been heard at the Singapore Writers Festival, Borobudur Writers and Cultural Festival, and Jaipur Literary Festival among others.