Stella Kon

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Stella Kon (née Lim Sing Po,[1] born 1944) is a Singaporean playwright. She is best known for her play, Emily of Emerald Hill, which has been staged internationally. She is a recipient of the S.E.A. Write Award.


Kon was born in Edinburgh in 1944.[2] She grew up in a mansion on Emerald Hill.[2] Kon's mother, Kheng Lim (or Rosie Seow),[1] was an actress who inspired her daughter's love of theatre.[3] Kon's father, Lim Kok Ann, got Kon interested in science and literature.[1] Kon was also related to Lim Boon Keng and Tan Tock Seng who were her maternal great-grandfather and paternal great-great grandfather respectively.[2] Kon attended Raffles Girls' School and then went on to the University of Singapore, where she earned a degree in philosophy.[1]

In 1967, after she was married, she moved to Malaysia for fifteen years.[2] For four years, she lived in Britain while her children were in school there.[2] In 1987, she returned to Singapore.[2]

Kon was awarded the Merit Award in the Singapore Literature Prize.[4] In 2008, she won the South East Asian Writers Award.[4] Kon was inducted into the Singapore Women's Hall of Fame in 2014.[4]


Kon was first published in 22 Malaysian Stories (1962), with the work, Mushroom Harvest.[2] Kon won the Singapore National Playwriting Competition for three plays: The Bridge (1977), The Trial (1982) and for Emily of Emerald Hill (1983).[5]

Emily of Emerald Hill is a one-woman play that debuted in 1984 and was directed by Chin San Sooi.[3] The melodrama follows the life of a Peranakan woman who is married into a family whe doesn't know at age 14 to a man twice her age.[6] The story was primarily inspired by Kon's grandmother, but also includes stories drawn from the rest of her extended family.[3] The Herald Sun wrote that the writing in Emily was "colorful and smartly written."[7] The Honolulu Star-Bulletin wrote that "The play is rich with the details of everyday life in a well-to-do Singaporeean Chinese family."[8] The play was performed at the Commonwealth Arts Festival and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 1986.[5] It has also been performed in Hong Kong, Australia, the United States and in Germany.[2]

Kon's play, The Human Heart Fruit, was staged by Action Theatre in 2002 and starred Nora Samosir.[9] Kon's first musical, Exodus, was written with the composer, Kenneth Lyen.[10] Her second musical, Lost in Transit, was performed at The Arts House in 2005.[10]


  1. ^ a b c d Tan, Guan Heng (2008). 100 Inspiring Rafflesians, 1823-2003. World Scientific. p. 91. ISBN 9789812779465.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Ahmad, Nureza. "Stella Kon". Singapore Infopedia. National Library Board Singapore. Retrieved 2017-11-28.
  3. ^ a b c Hopkins, Michelle (8 September 2006). "Singapore story worldwide hit: Classic tale by Stella Kon set for Gateway". North Shore News. Retrieved 28 November 2017 – via LexisNexis. (Subscription required (help)). Cite uses deprecated parameter |subscription= (help)
  4. ^ a b c "Stella Kon". Singapore Women's Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on 2017-12-01. Retrieved 2017-11-28.
  5. ^ a b "Classic Singapore plays #3 - Emily Of Emerald Hill". The Straits Times. 2014-08-26. Retrieved 2017-11-28.
  6. ^ Al-Attas, Suraya (18 October 1999). "This 'Emily' is a real gem". New Straits Times. Retrieved 28 November 2017 – via LexisNexis. (Subscription required (help)). Cite uses deprecated parameter |subscription= (help)
  7. ^ Kate, Herbert (1 November 2002). "Emily's Winning Ways". Herald Sun. Retrieved 28 November 2017 – via EBSCOhost. (Subscription required (help)). Cite uses deprecated parameter |subscription= (help)
  8. ^ White, John W. (1987-04-29). "East-West Center Play Presents a Moving Look at Singapore Life". Honolulu Star-Bulletin. p. 28. Retrieved 2017-11-28 – via
  9. ^ "Stella Kon's Not a Tutti-Frutti". The Straits Times. 8 June 2002. Retrieved 28 November 2017 – via LexisNexis. (Subscription required (help)). Cite uses deprecated parameter |subscription= (help)
  10. ^ a b Nanda, Akshita (24 October 2009). "Lost in Musicals: She is Known for Her Plays, But Stella Kon's Passion Is In Writing Lyrics". The Straits Times. Retrieved 28 November 2017 – via LexisNexis. (Subscription required (help)). Cite uses deprecated parameter |subscription= (help)

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