Book Launch: Towerhill Reclaimed

April 27, 2011 at 5:11 pm 5 comments

Written by Justin Foo Min Hua (2P408)
Photographs by Mr Jason Erik Lundberg

Towerhill coverOn Thursday, 19 April, for the final 2011 Library Week and World Book Day afternoon event, junior college members of the HCI Young Editors Club — Ephraim Tan (Co-Editor-in-Chief and Poetry Contributor), Lee Kah How (Artistic Director), and Joel Zhang (Prose Contributor) — launched their new publication, an anthology of poetry and prose entitled Towerhill Reclaimed.

Initially the editors thought of naming the book Parnassus, after the hilltop home of the Greek Muses of music, poetry, and knowledge, but reconsidered when they realized that the obscure reference would be too difficult to comprehend for the general reader. The anthology contains poems by our very own students, from both the high school and junior college, many of whom are our seniors from several years ago. The cover art has a monochromatic theme, which Artistic Director Lee Kah How chose because of its aesthetic elegance.

The anthology is split into two sections. The first section contains traditional elements and cultural themes, while the second section is about the progression into the future. The editors also felt that the book illustrates the movement from past to present, showing how the contributors’ writing has improved over the years; the symbolism of the clock imagery on the front cover contributes to this theme.

Another thing I learned from the YEC members was that we can get our creative inspiration from our surroundings. As students, there are many things around us that we may be unsatisfied with, and we can express our feelings through poetry and prose. Editor Ephraim Tan also mentioned that, “Writing is to express, not to impress.” I agree with this statement, as whenever I feel upset and emotional, I turn to literature and writing for an outlet and release. Joel Zhang said that as we practice writing, we will know what works and what does not. Many people have this personal fear of being mocked when other people look at their writing, but I think that this might show that the writer may not be putting in all his effort when writing, and thus he or she is afraid that other people would despise their work. If we have tried our best, yet still get laughed at by others, perhaps we can look at this criticism in a positive way, as a platform for improvement.

Each copy of Towerhill Reclaimed was sold for only 10 dollars. All proceeds collected from selling the book will go to disaster relief for Japan, following the recent earthquakes, tsunami, and nuclear mishaps. During the Q&A session at the end of the talk, a Sec 4 student asked why each Hwa Chong student couldn’t have a copy for free. Ephraim replied that people would treasure the book more if they use their money to buy it, in addition to the good feeling that comes from donating to a worthy cause.

(N.B. Copies of Towerhill Reclaimed are still available; interested students and staff can contact Mrs Laura Ng for acquisition details. -JEL)


Entry filed under: Books, Events, News, Writing.

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5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Per Sheng Xiang  |  August 7, 2011 at 12:15 pm

    I had attended this workshop, and I find it really useful and interesting. The book had basically compiled all the pieces of poem from students, and some of the poems over there was really exemplary. We had a chance to have a look in the book, and the JC students explained to us one of the poem there too.
    It was really fruitful, as we get to know their making of the book process, and their reasons behind their black and white theme etc. It was a really good workshop and I would recommend all of you to purchase the book.

  • 2. Koh Kah Xuan (2P4 10)  |  August 16, 2011 at 8:07 pm

    After attending this workshop, I have learnt a lot. The YEC members shared their process of writing, that if the writing is being mocked upon, it may be because the writer did not put in enough effort. However, even after putting in effort and yet mocked at, then we should take it as a platform for improvement.

    Apart from that, they also shared that one mistake many made is the heavy usage of bombastic words could impress the readers. As the speaker of the workshop suggested, “Writing is to express, not to impress”. What is the point of writing, when the reader could not understand what you want to express? I feel that we can only express our ideas completely when we use the language we are used to, trying the use another style will only result in our writing being unnatural.

    Lastly, I would say that the production of these books have been for a good purpose, in which all proceeds collected from selling the book will go to disaster relief for Japan, following the recent earthquakes, tsunami, and nuclear mishaps. This can allow the student to understand when appreciating literature works, we care about people in need.

  • 3. Shie Yu Hao  |  August 17, 2011 at 12:11 pm

    I have attended the talk on the anthropology of Hwa Chong first literature published book, in collation of every bit and pieces of writing of our seniors two to three years back in April. They named this book-TowerHill reclaimed but the original title is actually “Parnassus”, which is the hilltop home of Greek Muses, and the home of music, poetry, learning. But it is too difficult for non-poetry readers to understand this abstract meaning of the book. The front cover of the book is only plain black and white as they think that this looks elegant and simple.

    There is another picture of a person at the front cover of the book, with his upper part of the body having a clock face, resembling from the past to the future. Since this is a collation of works from two to three years ago till now, it would be a clever choice of an abstract art that stands out the entire theme of the book.

    I bought this book to study more about literature and I still cannot understand some of the literature entries in it but I am sure I can be able to understand it sooner or later if I could spent more time reading it! 😀

  • 4. Chan Chia Ler (2p401)  |  August 19, 2011 at 10:36 pm

    After attending the workshop, I have learned a lot. The JC students shared with us their process of writing the book. This book was a collection of the seniors hardwork, and is considered quite an achievement for hwachong, as it was the first book published in 10 years.

    The writers also shared their personal experience with writing. They said that when we write about things, we can never be sure that it will be a success or a failure. If our works gets laughed and mocked at, we should not feel angry, but instead, should treat it as a platform for improvement, as after all, when we look back at our works five years later, we will actually be laughing at ourselves! However, if our works are well received, we should not be complacent and should be humble as there is always room for improvement.

    Lastly, I feel that the production of this book was very meaningful. This book was released at around the time of the Japan’s nuclear crisis, and all proceedings will help in the disaster relief in Japan. By spending ten dollars on this book, we are gaining knowledge and increasing our linguistic skills, but yet in the process, we are also helping Japan! By buying this book, we are killing two birds with one stone! This was a very fruitful talk and I really appreciate all the time and effort invested in the making of this book.

  • 5. Alex Peng 2P418  |  August 20, 2011 at 11:39 am

    After attending this workshop, i have ganied many useful takeaways. During the course of this workshop, One sentence that really struck me was, “Not an attempt to have a published book, but to keep everything real”. I learnt that poetry and literature is not only to have nice, polished phrases that look good on cover, but it is actually more of your personal experience, and expression of a certain situation; poetry adds to reality. To be poetic is also to be creative, reflecting, and observing the objects that are around us. Our environment and what we see are different in many aspects to different people with different upbringings, and this creativity is what makes poems so special. Also, Not every word must be bombastic, but just simple words can have different insights for people, different ways it is portrayed to the reader; it is the essence of it; that’s the beauty of poetry. Just like in life, not everything we do must be complicated and of a very high standard; the most important thing is that we do our best and learn from our experiences.
    All in all, i feel that this workshop was really useful, and i will definitely attend more 🙂


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Library Club Leadership

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Mrs Rosalind Lee (SC)
Mdm Chan May Lun
Mdm Shieh Le-shiang
Mrs Kris Koo (Senior AO)
Mrs Wang Meng Juan (AO)

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Foo Yang Yi (Chairman)
Kervin Tay (Vice-Chairman)
Ian Wong (Training & Recruitment)
Zach Wang (Public Relations)
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