• Heather Gosling

Ready? Set? PLAYSET!: An interview with PLAYSET! Magazine

by Heather Gosling, Staff Contributor

I sat down for an interview with Elizabeth Deng, the President of PLAYSET! Magazine. We talked about how the magazine came about, literature and Elizabeth’s advice for aspiring writers.

Currently in its fourth issue (and soon to be fifth), PLAYSET! Magazine was founded by four university students in Singapore. The magazine aims to provide an online platform for aspiring writers to submit their work and receive feedback. Their name stems from the idea that the magazine is a place for young people to be creative. Elizabeth Deng is the President of the magazine and university student at the National University of Singapore.

What is your role in the magazine?

I am the President of PLAYSET, but I would be lost without my talented team of designers and editors. The aim of the magazine is to be a platform for young writers to get their work out there and receive feedback. We receive submissions from writers all over the world looking to have their work published.

When reviewing submissions, what is it you are looking for?

I guess what we are looking for is a new idea, or an interesting take on a theme. Since the magazine is for aspiring writers, we are not looking for flawless prose, but for something that piques our interest.

In terms of medium, we are open to poetry, prose, plays and memoirs. But if your work doesn’t fit into these categories, the team will decide whether it is a good fit for the issue. Those that submit their work will receive constructive feedback.

The theme of the next issue of PLAYSET! is The Enchanted Ordinary, tell me more about this theme:

Our thought process behind this theme was that we wanted a theme that focused on a specific genre. Our previous issues Playset, Trope walk, Lovers and Stardrift were very broad, so we wanted to hone in on magical realism and fantasy (a genre both me and Elizabeth enjoy).

What about your own writing? What kind of writer are you?

I mainly write prose, and I have been writing from the age of nine. But I am also interested in writing poetry, and I hope to write more plays in the future!

Where do you take your inspiration from?

I take my inspiration from ideas. Mainly ideas that you wouldn’t think of putting together.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Practice! The hardest part of writing is taking the first step. Know that the first piece you write will not be the best, but that’s ok!

In your spare time, what do you get up to?

I am heavily involved in the arts, and in my spare time I am part of a theatre company in Singapore called The Runaway Company. The Runaway Company is a non-profit music and theatre company based in Singapore. We seek to engage youths from all backgrounds in the performing arts. Currently, my role in the company is administrative and I am finding out when theatres will be able to open in Singapore soon! In terms of literature, I am exploring Singaporean authors and poets. I find it interesting to learn about my country’s past, and which issues were important to people.

And lastly, our signature Bitter Fruit Review question, what is your favourite fruit?

I like grapes, but preferably seedless ones!

As the interview came to a close, we discussed world literature, and I agreed with Elizabeth about the importance of reading works by authors from a different country to one’s own. We also talked about our shared love of short stories and the theatre.

To find more information about The Runaway Company visit their website here. You can find PLAYSET! Magazine’s website here, where you will find free online copies of each issue. Their fifth issue will be online in due course.

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