Meet Shelly Bryant, The Literary Artist

Meet Shelly Bryant, The Literary Artist

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4 min read

Dividing her time between Shanghai and Singapore, Shelly Bryant is a writer, researcher and translator with her work recognized in the literary community. With no academic background in Mandarin, she immersed herself into the language to become a literary translator from Chinese to English. You may have found her translations of Khoo Seok Wan’s poetry featured in the exhibition A Life in Poems by the National Library Board in Singapore.

Discover what brings her joy and how she manages work-life balance.


Shelly at a poetry reading for the anthology entitled A Grace Given (organised by Poetry Festival SG)

Shelly at a poetry reading for the anthology entitled A Grace Given (organised by Poetry Festival SG)

As a writer, researcher and translator, what brings you joy in your work?

I like the variety that is inherent in my job. With each project, I am working on new stories and new topics, so I am constantly exploring and learning new things. It is also very challenging work, which I enjoy. One project might have me researching and writing about private aviation, and for the next, I’ll be writing scripts for children’s programmes. I like that sort of variety. It keeps the work from getting stale and monotonous.

Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?

I read voraciously. Some of my favourite reads include the online literary journals Alluvium, Eunoia Review, QLRS, and Cha. I subscribe to Sharon Hurley Hall’s The Anti-Racism Newsletter, and I regularly read LitHub, Words Without Borders, Paper Republic, Book Riot, Asymptote, and Aeon. I also maintain a newsletter of my own, A Polite Lie, in which I discuss issues related to literary translation.

Aside from the books Shelly recommends, she has written and translated several books including the above books shown.

Aside from the books Shelly recommends, she has written and translated several books including the above books shown.

If you were a superhero, what powers would you have?

Oooh! Good question! I’m not sure what powers I would actually have, but I would like to be able to get from place to place quickly and easily – whether by flying or teleporting or whatever, I wouldn’t care! Being able to move around wherever one wants has become all the more precious since 2020, and I’d love any super power that made that possible.

In the past year, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?

I’ve tried to be more intentional about incorporating rest into my routine. I’m a small business owner, and with that comes the stress of feeling like you shouldn’t ever pass up a project, as you might lose the client to someone else who picks up the project you don’t do. It has led to me often overworking, which is not good. I’m trying to learn to turn down projects that don’t fit into my schedule, and I’m trying very hard to work periods of rest into my working life.

Shelly at an event with Anna Holmwood, organised by the Singapore Writers Festival (SWF)

Shelly at an event with Anna Holmwood, organised by the Singapore Writers Festival (SWF)

What challenges do you face when you work remotely and how does having access to a workspace like Staytion help you?

Having access to Staytion has given me a place where I can really focus on my work without disruption, which helps address the challenges I face with the temptation to overwork and over-commit. Having the space to really focus allows me to be more productive which means I can put my work away at the end of the day with a good feeling. The facilities are comfortable and a perfect work environment, but it is the kind, attentive staff that make Staytion really special. We feel like we’ve been welcomed into the Staytion family, and it makes for a very happy work life for us.

Want to experience the space for yourself?

Subscribe to a Membership and gain access to a suite of coworking spaces close to home or have a taste of productivity with a Day Pass to Staytion Spaces at Marsiling MRT. We will be opening our newest workspace in Paya Lebar and Woodlands on 14th December 2022 and early 2023 respectively. Stay tuned!