Mdm Tham Yew Chin
B.A. / Class of 1972
B.A. (Honours)/ Class of 1973
Prolific, award-winning writer who has made waves in China
For her remarkable achievements as a writer and contributions to the Chinese literary scene, Nanyang Technological University is proud to present Mdm Tham Yew Chin with the Nanyang Alumni Achievement Award.
Better known by her pen name You Jin, Mdm Tham first saw her work published when she was only 11 after she submitted a piece titled I wish to be a fairy tale writer to the now-defunct Singapore newspaper Nanyang Siang Pau. She went on to join the paper as a features reporter and eventually published her first book, A glimpse of society, in 1978 – a collection of special features she had written. As a journalist, Mdm Tham would survive on four to five hours of sleep daily so she had time to write. In 1981, she opted to become a teacher so she would have more time for her family – Mdm Tham went on to teach for nearly three decades, first at Hua Yi Secondary School, then Pioneer Junior College.
To date, she has published 180 books in countries like Singapore, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Malaysia. A writer of short stories, novels, travelogues and essays, her works first started to gain popularity internationally in the late 1980s. She broke into the China market in 1989 when a publisher in Zhejiang released five of her travelogues – about her travels in South America, the Middle East and Europe – in the country. Her popularity spiked in China and her books sold out quickly from Guangzhou to Shanghai, while scores of fans lined up for her autograph at meet-the-author sessions. A decade later, Chongqing City’s Chongqing University set up the You Jin Research Centre for university students to study her works and those of other Southeast Asian writers.
You Jin is most famed for her travelogues, which typically focus on the personal lives of individuals she has met on her travels. She won the National Book Development Council of Singapore book award twice – in 1982 and 1992– for her travelogue The White House in the Desert and her novel The Burning Lion respectively. Her other awards include the inaugural Singapore Chinese Literary Award from the Singapore Literature Society in 1991, the inaugural Montblanc-NUS Centre for the Arts Literary Award in 1996, the Cultural Medallion – Singapore’s highest arts accolade – in 2009, and the Singapore Literature Prize (Merit award, Chinese Non-Fiction) in 2014. The National Library Board also selected Short Stories by You Jin for its nationwide reading initiative, Read! Singapore, in 2008.
迄 2016年 10 月份，谭女士已出版作品 180 部，在新加坡、中国、台湾、香港和马来西亚等多个国家和地区出版。创作形式多为小品文、小说、游记和散文，于20世纪80年代后半叶在海内外开始广受欢迎。作品最早于1989年获引入中国市场，当时中国浙江一家出版社将她书写南美洲、中东和欧洲的五部游记推出国内市场，结果大受中国读者欢迎。随后每当其作品在广州以至上海的书局面市，常是上架没多久便售罄，每逢签书会总有大批粉丝列队索取签名。2000年，位于中国重庆市的重庆师范大学正式成立“尤今研究中心”，专供校内在籍大学生研究谭女士以及其他东南亚作家的创作。