Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam and S Iswaran, Minister in the Prime Minister's Office, launched the Tamil Digital Heritage Collection yesterday featuring 80 prominent tamil writers and poets such as P Krishnan, Jayanti Shankar and K T M Iqbal.
"The digital collection has given our Tamil literature books of the last 50 years not only a new lease of life but also a long lease of life," Tharman said at the launch.
The project was mooted in 2013 by the Tamil Digital Heritage Group and National Library Board (NLB), the Strait Times reported. The public can now access archives of 50 years of local Tamil literature, ranging from published novels to poems to short stories.
Tamil, Malay, Chinese and English, are the official languages in Singapore. "The memories of our writers will seed new memories in the next generation and spur new imagination and new writings," said Tharman, who is also the Finance Minister.
About 100 Tamil authors and teachers helped to annotate the 350 books, while more than 250 volunteers worked with the NLB staff to proofread some 50,000 pages of literary works. "It gives local literature a permanent presence in our country's cultural history," said Iqbal who received the Singapore Cultural Medallion award last year.
"Young writers and poets can read and learn from these works, while teachers will be able to use them in classes in secondary schools and even universities," said Iqbal, calling the completion of digitisation as a "proud moment for Singapore and the Tamil literary community".
The collection is now available in public libraries and on the NLB's BooksSGportal.