Way With Words

Published on 26 May 2017

Credit: Mindy Tan for Epigram Books

Singapore author Low Ying Ping pens her way to a Singapore Book Award.

By MARCUS GOH

Low Ying Ping was just 18 when she finished her first novel. “There’s no way I’m going to publish that, of course,” chuckles Low, who turns 40 this year. “To me that was a milestone because it showed me I had the willpower to complete something in the long form.”

She eventually went on to write her award-winning Mount Emily children’s series, detailing the adventures of two time-travelling students. In April, the second book, Mount Emily Revisited, won the Best Middle Grade/Young Adult Title in the Singapore Book Awards 2017.

“About two years ago, I finished Mount Emily, and I thought, why don’t I send this to a publisher? I was lucky that Epigram Books took a chance on me,” she says. The avid wordsmith has also penned poems that were published in Singa, a literary journal from the National University of Singapore, and critical essays for the Quarterly Literary Review Singapore.

Low, who holds a master’s degree in literature, feels that going from voracious reader to writer is an organic progression. “Many literature students I know all have a wish to write. It’s just about whether they get it published. It’s very natural if you think about it, literature students love books, and they love words. That’s the way it was for me.”

The prolific writer reads all sorts of genres and enjoys any type of writing, as long as it is well written. A large part of her literary diet comprises fantasy novels and her favourite scribe is fantasy novelist Brandon Sanderson. “He creates the most amazing magic systems, and his world building is just fantastic, it’s out of this world,” she enthuses.

Upcoming projects include working on her fourth and final book in the Mount Emily series. Recently, she also collaborated with local composer Wen Sim on a song about the legend of Aladdin, which has been licensed by a school choir for a public performance.

When asked what inspires her to write, Low reveals, “When I read something that touches me or moves me in a certain way, I feel I have a need to come up with something of my own that will affect others in a similar way. When words move others, that’s the most beautiful thing.”

The Mount Emily series is available on shop.epigrambooks.sg.

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