Fear of Writing

Fear of Writing

Tan Tarn How

Plays and Poetry

Epigram Books

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The maestro of political plays is back and his latest offering in a decade, Fear of Writing, is a groundbreaking commentary with its finger on the political pulse of Singapore today.

In Fear of Writing, a playwright struggles with writer’s block, a director and producer bemoan their failure to get a government license to stage their play, and a father writes to his daughter overseas. Seemingly disparate elements are woven together, while the line between art, performance and reality begin to blur dramatically as the play reaches its chilling conclusion.

Fear of Writing is a play that will haunt you while compelling you to decide where you stand on the issues of control and censorship.

Written by Tan Tarn How, Fear of Writing was first staged by Theatreworks in 2011 to critical acclaim.


“[A]n important summation work at Tan's mid-point career. More than any other work in the Singapore canon, it questions the point and purpose of making theatre in Singapore.
—Helmi Yusof, ‘The finest plays in 50 years’, The Business Times  

Fear of Writing is an urgent and courageous piece of work
—Adeline Chia, The Straits Times

“A scathing indictment. It analyses the very act of writing itself and its limits.”
Mayo Martin, TODAY

“One of the most intelligent and scathing dramas ever written about the machinery of Singapore politics and the individual capacity to be a force for change. Tan has produced the gravest and most compelling work of his 20-year playwriting career.
—Clarissa Oon, The Straits Times

More books by
Tan Tarn How
Tan Tarn How: Six Plays
Tan Tarn How Six Plays