Open Call for personal stories about ‘grief’

The Poetry Festival Singapore is launching an inaugural event, “MELANCHOLIA”. Centring around the theme of ‘grief’, the event explores the sharing of personal stories from different people of all ages, genders and communities in a similar aspect that occurs within all our lives – grief.

Theme: “Grief” 

Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak knits up the o-er wrought heart and bids it break.”


- William Shakespeare


‘Grief’ is generally described as a response to loss, but also in the anticipation of things not yet told. Each of us grieves in our own special ways towards a variety of causes – in mourning the loss of past loved ones to the melancholic reckonings of what the future holds for us. It entails many emotions – sadness, anger, regret, guilt, or even enlightenment – of which proves to be a challenge in coming to grips with.


Poetry Festival Singapore aims to touch on this shared aspect in life to create depth into what it means to be going through bereavement. In “MELANCHOLIA”, we wish to provide a platform to allow us to learn from one another in an aspect that ties us together and aim for an understanding of the different interpretations of grief. 


Research has shown that writing helps to play an important role in our journeys of healing and recovery from pain and allows us to be able to better come to terms with our past experiences. Through writing, expressions can be made of our deepest thoughts from pen to paper.


Sharing within a community is also essential in building a space for us to come together and find comfort in our very different trials and ordeals that share the aspect of grief. To build this safe space together, we are also providing communication and solace that allows us to revisit memories and heal from our various experiences. 

In doing so, we will be able to give testimony to these moments of grief through writing and allow us to be attuned to our rawest state of pure vulnerability and even learn to forgive and let go of what keeps us in sorrow. 


How will it be reviewed?

We welcome submissions with quality and originality of language and content. The stories will be reviewed on the capabilities of expressing grief that can be easily empathised and understood by many and allows the opening of communication between one another in hopes of achieving an understanding of the various types of grief that can be experienced, and also a sharing of insight of the depth within these moments. 


How will the stories be used?

A resident writer of the Poetry Festival Singapore will collate these stories and weave them into a script which would act as the basis of developing a staged play that will feature these tales. Details of the play are still to be confirmed.

Details of Submission

Language: English, Chinese, Malay or Tamil

Length: Up to 500 words

Submission Deadline:  (Singapore Time, 23:59)

Please send your submissions via this online form in Word and PDF formats.

Privacy Policy

During the submission process, we collect some personal information via the Jotform platform, including your email address and mailing address. Please note that all personal information received will be kept confidential and we will not be used unnecessarily, nor published or distributed to any third party.



We believe in the importance of being paid for your writing, even if it’s only a token amount. At this time, we are able to offer three dollars (US$3) for each published story, to be paid via PayPal, with the option to donate it back to Every Day Fiction if you are so inclined.

Publication also includes an opportunity to promote your writing beyond Every Day Fiction. We will gladly provide a link to your blog or website or your preferred social media platform, and if you have books available for sale, we can link to those as well.



1. Can I submit more than one entry?

Yes, although only the FIRST ENTRY will be considered.

2. Can I submit more than one language? (e.g. one entry under English and one entry under Chinese)?

Yes, you may.


3. Do I have to pay any submission fee?

No, there is no submission fee to submit your poem.

4. What are the judging criteria?

The judges’ rubric consists of: a sense of form, precision with language, originality, the truthfulness of feeling and sensitivity to the world at large. Please see this page for the rubric.

5. When will I know if I am shortlisted?

We will inform the applicants by (DATE TBC).

6. Is there an age limit?

No, anyone of any age from 10 years old can join.


7. Can foreigners participate?

The event is only open to permanent residents and citizens of Singapore.

8, I am writing in Chinese, Malay or Tamil, do I have to submit a pdf file?

Yes. In case we are not able to view the poem due to missing fonts, please send us pdf file of your poem.

9. Do I have to provide English translation of my Chinese, Malay or Tamil poem?

No, you do not have to do so for submission. But if you are shortlisted, we will request the translation from you accordingly.

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