Authors/artists at Huggs-Epigram Coffee Bookshop: April
Authors and artists have been heading to the Huggs-Epigram Coffee Bookshop for what we call our "author/artist-in-attendance" programme. Think of it as an open studio concept, where you can see authors and artists doing what they do best – whether it's writing their latest chapter for a new novel, composing a verse or two or doodling away.
In March, we saw the likes of Felix Cheong, Ng Yi-Sheng and Balli Kaur Jaswal. In April, more will be popping in come April. These include Peh Shing Huei (Dream Island), Monica Lim and Lesley-Anne Tan (Secrets of Singapore) and Sebastian Sim (Let's Give It Up for Gimme Lao! and The Riot Act).
One of the reasons we are doing this is because we want to look for new ways to introduce the world of SingLit to you. This programme, we hope, will help build a connection between readers and the creators of these stories, characters and worlds that have entranced us.
We're pretty sure they won't mind if you stopped by to say "hi" and let them know how much you appreciate their work or ask them anything about the world of lit. See you there!
The Huggs-Epigram Coffee Bookshop is located at 45 Maxwell Road, #01-01, Singapore 069118 (across from the Maxwell Food Centre).
Get coffee: 7am to 5.30pm (Mon-Fri), 8am to noon (Sat)
Get books: 10am to 7pm (Mon-Fri), 10am to 2pm (Sat)
Closed on Sun.
WHO'S APPEARING IN APRIL
TEO XUE SHEN (1-3, 8-9 April) wrote his debut novel, 18 Walls, while he was still in National Service! He would spend whatever spare time he had crafting and honing story about a group of young soldiers fighting to save their walled city from an invading horde of savages, only to realise that perhaps, they were fighting the wrong enemy. The novel was longlisted for the 2017 Epigram Books Fiction Prize and was launched at the Singapore Writers Festival in 2018.
FELIX CHEONG (4 April) had the distinct honour of receiving the Young Artist Award for Literature in 2000. While he’s primarily known for his poetry, he has also written various works of fiction, including Vanishing Point (2013) and Singapore Siu Dai: The SG Conversation In A Cup (2014), a collection of satirical tales that spawned two sequels. In 2018, he published B-sides and Backslides, a new anthology of poems, including previously unpublished works.
LOLITA CHIONG (5 April) is the illustrator the very funny book, Timothy and the Phubbers, written by Ken Kwek. The book tells the story of young Timothy who gets bullied on his first day at Secondary School. But he can't turn to his family for help because they are phubbers (people who ignore others in favour of their mobile phone) and he is too young to own one, so he and his friends devise cunning ways to get even. Her artwork in Timothy and the Phubbers brilliantly complements Ken's story.
NURIL BASRI (10 April) is one of Indonesia's hottest literary stars. He writes tragicomedies and bildungsromans with themes of loneliness, insecurity, friendship, dysfunctional families and the minorities. Love Lies and Indomee is the English version (with translation by Zedeck Siew) of his previous novel first published in Bahasa under the title Enak (which means "good").
MONICA LIM AND LESLEY-ANNE TAN (11, 25 April) are a mother-and-daughter writing team. Together, they created the popular Danger Dan and Gadget Girl books. They also wrote the bestselling Secrets of Singapore series, beginning with the bestselling Secrets of Singapore (2015), which was followed by Secrets of Singapore: National Museum (2017) and Secrets of Singapore: Botanic Gardens (2018). The fourth book in that instalment, Secrets of Singapore: Changi Airport, will be out this year.
KIRSTEN HAN (12 April) is one of the contributing authors to our new mini-book series, Rational Conversations, a collection of essays and speeches from various Singaporeans, which also includes former diplomat Bilahari Kausikan, former Nominated Member of Parliament Kuik Shiao-Yin and poet/playwright Alfian Sa'at. Kirsten's book, The Silhouette of Oppression, examines the relationship between government and political journalists in Singapore.
PEH SHING HUEI (13 April) is the author of Tall Order, the biography of Singapore's former prime minister Goh Chok Tong; and Dream Island: The Mad, Mad World of Philip Yeo, a children's book about one of Singapore's most innovative minds, Philip Yeo, the man who came up with the idea for Jurong Island. A former journalist, Shing Huei also penned Neither Civil Nor Servant (the grown-up bio of Philip Yeo).
GRACIE CHAI (15 April) is the illustrator who drew all those cute animals in The Great Singapore Poo Sale and Other Beastly Business. (We especially love the slow loris!) Gracie's images are a lovely accompaniment to an equally lovely story by author Maureen Yeo, about how the wild animals of Singapore (yes there are wild animals in the Lion City) take matters into their own hands (or paws) after they find their habitat threatened by human urban development. The question is: can they stop the urbanisation before it's too late.
SEBASTIAN SIM (17 April) has held various jobs over the years – croupier, prison officer, bartender, fast-food outlet manager – all for the purpose of enabling him to focus on his writing. His started with Chinese wuxia novels, before writing his first English novel, Let's Give It Up For Gimme Lao!, which was a finalist for the 2015 Epigram Books Fiction Prize. In 2017, his second English novel, The Riot Act, won the 2017 edition of the Prize.
IMRAN HASHIM (18 April) based his debut novel, Annabelle Thong – about a Singapore school teacher who goes to Paris on the pretext of doing her post-grad, but really to find her One True Love – partly on his own experiences studying in France. The novel came about when his friends were tickled by his hilarious email updates on his life in Paris. Critics called the book "a comic triumph" and "a fun summer read" that "sparkles with sass and wit".
JASON ERIK LUNDBERG (22 & 23 April) is the author and editor of a dozen books – both for children as well as for adults. He also edited Best New Singaporean Short Stories and LONTAR: The Journal of Southeast Asian Speculative Fiction. His latest work is the novella, Diary of One Who Disappeared, which tells the story of Lucas, a man who moves to the Southeast Asian nation of Tinhau, where meet meets a strange young woman and his desires come true. But things are not what they seem.
ANNGEE NEO (24 April) is a Singaporean illustrator who works predominantly in the digital medium and has played every card from the artist handbook: from plates to murals, from tote bags to children’s books. She has illustrated several books, including The Trampolines That Nadia Built, The Crane and the Crab and The Rock and the Bird, which won both the Hedwig Anuar Children’s Book Award and a Singapore Book Award (Best Young Adult Title).
SWAPNIL MISHRA (26-27 April) based his debut book, Freddy the Eager Fundraiser – about a young boy who learns important life lessons when he tries to raise funds for disaster relief – partly on his own experience (he had experienced an earthquake when he was younger) and partly on his son's own fundraising efforts in school after the Nepal earthquake. The result is this tale that shows how far you can go if you set your mind on doing something right.
MAUREEN YEO (29-30 April) is the author of the bestselling book that has a hilarious title but comes with a heartfelt message, The Great Singapore Poo Sale and Other Beastly Business. The book tells the story of how the animals of Singapore have to take matters into their own hands (or paws) after too much urbanisation starts threatening their natural habitat. Maureen is an educator who got the idea after she realised her students could not name any Singaporean wildlife.