“Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?”
~ Mary Oliver ~
Desmond Francis Xavier Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé (b. 1971) is the author of an epistolary novel, a quasi-memoir, two lyric essay monographs, four hybrid works, nine poetry collections, and several chapbooks.
He has also edited more than twenty books and co-produced three audio books, several pro bono for non-profit organisations including Sok Sabay Cambodia, SAGE Counselling Centre, Riding for the Disabled Association, and the National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre. These titles span the genres of ethnography, journalism, creative writing, and corporate literature.
Trained in book publishing at Stanford University, Desmond studied sociology and mass communication at the National University of Singapore, and later received his theology masters (world religions) from Harvard University and fine arts masters (creative writing) from the University of Notre Dame.
A former journalist with 8 Days magazine, he has travelled to Australia, France, Hong Kong and Spain for his stories, which have included features on Madonna, Björk and Morgan Freeman, culminating in the authorship of the limited edition Top Ten TCS Stars for Caldecott Publishing.
Desmond is the first-ever winner in both Poetry and Visionary Fiction categories at the Beverly Hills International Book Awards; to have two collections tie for Poetry at the National Indie Excellence Book Awards; to clinch three prizes under Metaphysical (Bronze), Inspirational Fiction (Silver), and Death & Dying (Gold) categories at the Living Now Book Awards; as well as to sweep seven wins under Adult Fiction, Anthology, Poetry, and Spirituality in four territories (Northeast, West, Midwest, Southwest) at the USA Regional Excellence Book Awards.
His other honours include the IBPA Benjamin Franklin Gold Award (Poetry), Independent Publisher Silver Book Award (Multicultural Fiction), Singapore Literature Prize (Poetry), PEN American Center Shorts Prize, Poetry World Cup, Hiew Siew Nam Distinguished Academic Award, and four teaching excellence awards, among other accolades.
His poetry and prose has placed in literary competitions in Australia, Canada, England, France, Greece, Ireland, Israel, Netherlands, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Scotland, Singapore, and the US.
Recipient of grants from the National Arts Council and Singapore International Foundation, Desmond has enjoyed literary appointments at the Notre Dame Poetry Fellowship, NAC Writer-in-the-Gardens Residency, and NTU-NAC Creative Writing Residency. He has also held juror engagements for various literary competitions/projects organised by The British Council, Marshall Cavendish, Ministry of Education, National Arts Council, National Library Board, Poetry Festival Singapore, Sing Lit Station, and Word Forward.
Chosen as a featured Singaporean in the commemorative tome, Living The Singapore Story: Celebrating Our 50 Years, Desmond later became the lyricist for the commissioned choral work to mark the Singapore Youth Festival’s 50th Anniversary.
He has also invented several poetic forms, namely the asingbol, the anima methodi, and the found//fount sonnet. A distinctly Singaporean variation of the classic form, the found//fount sonnet became the poetic form-of-choice to frame Light to Night Festival 2020, as well as issued its own commemorative anthology to mark the Singapore Bicentennial.