Announcing the 2016 Shortlist
SINGAPORE, 10 NOVEMBER 2016— Epigram Books is pleased to announce the shortlist for the 2016 Epigram Books Fiction Prize. The finalists are, in alphabetical order:
Nuraliah Norasid’s submission The Gatekeeper is a fantasy novel about Ria who petrified an entire village when she was ten. She flees with her gorgon sister to an underground city where she becomes its guardian. Years later, the refuge is threatened when she befriends a man from the outside.
Nuraliah is a research associate in an organisation that examines socio-religious issues in Singapore. She has a doctorate in English Literature and Creative Writing from Nanyang Technological University. Her writing has appeared in the Quarterly Literary Review Singapore.
O Thiam Chin’s entry Fox Fire Girl is the spell-binding tale of a spirited girl from Ipoh who resorts to spinning yarns to both her lovers to hide the truth about herself—before disappearing.
Thiam Chin won last year’s prize with his first novel Now That It’s Over. He has also published five short story collections, including Love, Or Something Like Love which was shortlisted for the 2014 Singapore Literature Prize for English Fiction. He was an honorary fellow of the Iowa International Writing Program in 2010 and an NAC Young Artist winner in 2012.
Tham Cheng-E’s manuscript is a piece of speculative fiction set in an alternate Singapore where hidden among the citizens are “immortals” pursued by a mysterious organisation bent on killing them after having given them such long lives in the first place; Surrogate Protocol is the story of the hunt for one of these Chronomorphs.
Tham is an architect with a statutory board. He writes about the special needs community for the online magazine Special Seeds, and maintains a family blog on parenting and Down syndrome.
Jeremy Tiang’s entry, State of Emergency, spans the guerilla war years of the Malayan Emergency in the late 1940s through the 1965 MacDonald House bombing and the 1987 Marxist Conspiracy to the present day as an extended family comes to terms with its leftist leaning members.
Jeremy is the author of the short story collection It Never Rains on National Day, a finalist in the English Fiction category of this year’s Singapore Literature Prize. He has also translated many books from Chinese, including novels by You Jin and Yeng Pway Ngon.
“All the shortlisted manuscripts are impressive in their ambition and scope. The stories will be familiar to the Singaporean reader in terms of time and place, history and language. Yet, each work has stunning surprises and poignant revelations, demonstrating the writers’ mastery over their narrative and storytelling,” says Haresh Sharma, resident playwright at The Necessary Stage, and one of the judges for this year’s prize.
The other judges are Professor Philip Holden from the Department of English Language and Literature at the National University of Singapore, Constance Singam, author, activist and former president of the women’s rights group AWARE, and Edmund Wee, publisher and CEO of Epigram Books.
The winner will be announced at an award ceremony and gala dinner on 24 November 2016 at the Pan Pacific Singapore.
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