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Anitha Devi Pillai (PhD) has authored and edited creative and non-creative fiction books as well as translated a historical fiction novel, Sembawang: A Novel (2020) from Tamil into English, which was shortlisted for the Singapore History Prize, awarded by National University of Singapore and the Best Literary Book Award by the Singapore Book Publishers Association. She also loves writing poetry. Some of her poems have made their way into the classrooms in Singapore, India, Australia and the Philippines. Many of her work explore themes such as identity, heritage and culture.
She is best known for her research into the Singapore Malayalee community that was supported by a National Heritage Board (Singapore) grant and resulted in the publication of From Kerala to Singapore: Voices from the Singapore Malayalee Community (2017). For this study, Anitha was awarded the Pravasi Express Research Excellence Award in 2017.
Her other books are Project Work: Exploring Processes, Practices and Strategies (2008), From Estate to Embassy: Memories of an Ambassador (2019), A View of Stars: Stories of Love (2020), A Tapestry of Colours 1: Stories from Asia (2021), A Tapestry of Colours 2: Stories from Asia (2021) and The Story of Onam (2021).
Anitha’s favourite genres to write and teach are the short story and creative non-fiction prose. Her stories have appeared in various anthologies including The Best Asian Short Stories 2019, Letter to my Son (2020) and Food Republic: A Singapore Literary Banquet (2020). She is currently working on a collection of short stories focusing on food and love.
She is the co-director of the 16th International Conference on the Short Story in English and editor for the prose (fiction and creative non-fiction) section of the Practice, Research and Tangential Activities (PR&TA) literary journal.
In a parallel life, she is an applied linguist and teacher educator at the National Institute of Education (NIE), Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore where she teaches courses on various forms of writing and trains English language teachers to teach writing. Anitha is a three-time recipient of teaching awards: Excellence in Teaching Commendation Award from NIE, NTU in 2018 and the SUSS Teaching Merit Award in 2013 and 2014 from the Singapore University of Social Sciences.