Tan Tarn How is a Singaporean playwright and senior research fellow at the Institute of Policy Studies (Singapore). His plays have been staged in Singapore and Hong Kong, and have won numerous awards. In 2011, Epigram Books published a collection of six of his plays.

Tan Tarn How graduated from Peterhouse, Cambridge in 1982 with Bachelor of Arts Honours, Natural Sciences Tripos. He then obtained a Diploma in Education from the Institute of Education, Singapore, in 1984. Tan was also a recipient of a three-month Fulbright Scholarship to Boston University in 1993.

Tan Tarn How is currently working for Institute of Policy Studies, Singapore. Prior to this, he worked at The Straits Times, Singapore’s main local newspaper, from 1987–1996 and 1999 to 2005. Posts he held at The Straits Times include Science and Technology editor, Sunday Review editor, Life! deputy editor, senior political correspondent and also a foreign correspondent based in Beijing and Hong Kong.

From 1997 to 1999, Tan was Head Scriptwriter for Drama, Productions Five at the Singapore Television Corporation (now known as Mediacorp).

Tan Tarn How has also been a teacher and television scriptwriter. He is also the part-time Associate Artistic Director of the drama company TheatreWorks, where he has been leading workshops for budding playwrights.

Works include:

In Praise of the Dentist (1993)
The Lady of Soul and Her Ultimate ‘S’ Machine (1993)
Home (1993)
Undercover (1994)
Six of the Best (1996)
The First Emperor’s Last Days (1998)
Machine (2002)
Confessions of 300 Unmarried Men (2006)
Fear of Writing (2011)

In 2015, Fear of Writing was selected by The Business Times as one of the “finest plays in 50 years” alongside productions by Goh Poh Seng, Michael Chiang and Alfian Sa’at and others.

The Lady of Soul and Her Ultimate ‘S’ Machine will be restaged in 2015 as part of the Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay’ celebrations of Singapore’s Golden Jubilee.


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