Epigram Books Blog
Epigram Books in the running for Bologna Prize for Best Children’s Publisher of the Year for the second time
SINGAPORE, 2 MARCH 2017 — Epigram Books has been shortlisted once again for the Bologna Prize for the Best Children’s Publishers of the Year, which will be presented at the 54th Bologna Children’s Book Fair from 3 to 6 April this year.
“We’re doubly honoured to be nominated once again for the prize,” said Edmund Wee, Publisher and CEO of Epigram Books. “We are introducing Singapore fiction to the world through our recently set up London office. We hope this nomination will expose our children’s book authors and illustrators to the world as well.”
Nominated for the second year by publisher associations worldwide and 2017 fair exhibitors, Epigram Books, founded in 2011 to champion Singaporean literature, have published over 100 Singapore children’s and young adult titles, with more than 40 new titles scheduled for this year. Notable titles include the popular Amos Lee series, which has sold a total of 240,000 copies, and the Sherlock Sam series, which has sold over 63,000 copies and is currently being adapted into an animated TV series.
Three picture books published in 2016, Karung Guni Boy by Lorraine Tan and Eric Wong, Grandma and The Things That Stay the Same by Eve Aw and Yunroo, and Emma & Ginger Book 3: Dad’s at Home by Lily Kong and Jeanette Yap, have been sent to Bologna for the judging process.
The Bologna Prize for the Best Children’s Publishers of the Year, now in its fifth year, rewards creative, innovative publishers based on “the editorial projects, professional skills and intellectual qualities of work produced by publishing houses all over the world”.
Nominees are shortlisted into six categories organised by region: Asia, Africa, Central-South America, Europe, North America, and Oceania. Prize winners are determined by publishing houses, international publishers’ associations as well as cultural institutions taking part in the Bologna Children’s Book Fair.
Epigram Books is the only publisher from Singapore in the Asian category. Others in the shortlist are Borim Press from South Korea, Kaisei-Sha Publishing and One Stroke from Japan, and Karadi Tales from India.
Let’s be honest—11-year-old Danny’s secret life isn’t really a secret anymore. With two books out, and a third one slated for release this May, more and more people are reading about Danger Dan’s battles to right Singapore’s historical hiccups.
Danger Dan is also making waves outside of home—authors Monica Lim and Lesley-Anne are back from the Hong Kong International Young Readers Festival, where they shared about Danger Dan’s adventures, and what it takes to write them. With Danger Dan destined to soar even greater heights, what’s the real Danny like?
Our editorial assistant here at Epigram Books, Dan (yes, Dan, but just plain Dan) finds out.
Dan: Hi Danny! I’m Dan. Tell me how you came up with the name Danger Dan and your awesome superhero persona?
Danny: Hey, your name is Dan too? That’s awesomely awesome! Isn’t Dan the best name ever? We can be the superhero duo! We can be the Danger Dan…s. Danger Dans! Oh hang on, I forgot Melody. We can be the superhero triplet! Wait, that’s not right. What comes after duo? Never mind! What’s the question again?
Dan: Okaaay…moving on. I have one elder sister and you have three. Can you tell us a bit about them?
Danny: Amy is a blabbermouth. Betty is a geek. Candy is a pig. They’re all mean to me.
Dan: That’s not very nice, Danny.
Danny: They’re not very nice! Hey, why are we talking about them? They’re not important! Talk about me! Me, me, me!
Dan: In Danger Dan Confronts the Merlion Mastermind: Issue #1 you travel back in time to 1964 Singapore, then to 1947 in Danger Dan Tackles the Majulah Mayhem: Issue #2. Which time period did you like best?
Danny: 1947 wasn’t very fun. There wasn’t any food! But I got to meet Zubir Said and he said I had musical ears! 1964 was better. I went to the Van Kleef Aquarium! It was quite cool but we umm…had a little accident.
Dan: Actually, what does it feel like to time travel?
Danny: Very weird. Do you have any food?
Danny: But I’m hungry! Soooooo hungry! Can you buy a burger for me? Please? Pretty pleeeeease?
Dan: *mutters to himself and stomps off*
10 minutes later…
Dan: *returns and hands Danny a bag* Here’s your burger.
Danny: Thank you, Dan! You da bomb! Wait, I see something green. Ewww…you didn’t take out the pickle! *gingerly peels out the pickle* Did you get fries?
Dan: You seem to have a…huge appetite. How did the food of the past taste to you?
Danny: *munch* The laksa was great! *munch* The ice ball was great! *munch* The kacang puteh was great! The vegetables…not so great. *MUNCH*
Dan: You travel back in time with Melody, a mysterious girl from the future. Do you have a crush on her?
Danny: Yuck! Yuck! Why would I have a crush on her? She has such bad aim! Don’t tell her I said that. The person I like will be funny, sporty, have fantastic aim and play computer games!
Dan: I’ll tell your creators, Monica Lim, Lesley-Anne and James Tan, about that.
Danny: James should draw me with more muscles. How can I save Singapore with these scrawny arms? I don’t think it’s fair that Monica and Lesley-Anne gave Melody all the gadgets and gave me nothing. Must be because they’re girls!
Monica: Behave yourself, Danny. Or I’ll start calling you Ding Dong Dan in the books.
Danny: See? They bully me! And Lesley-Anne is an older sister, right? I don’t like older sisters!
Lesley-Anne: How would you like another sister in the next book, Danny?
Danny: Alright, alright! Fine, you win! You guys are awesome, ok? *sulks in corner*
Dan: *moves interview to corner* Tell us how their trips overseas with you went.
Danny: They did all the talking! I didn’t get to say anything! They left me in the hotel room and went to eat roast goose without me!
Dan: Okay, talk about your next adventure, Danger Dan Spooks the Peculiar Peranakan Pirate. What can we expect, and who on earth is this pirate?
Danny: Oh, it’s very exciting! I get to go on a pirate ship and I even meet Raffles! The human Raffles, not the statue! But he’s not the pirate! And Danger Dan meets his all-time nemesis, the Sinister Spyder, face-to-face for the first time. He’s quite a scary guy. If you want to find out how Danger Dan saves the day, you have to buy the books! And you have to like my Facebook page! Not just the page, you have to like every post! And every photo! And spam all your friends! And—
Dan: I think we’re done for the day. Thank you, Danny for that very…interesting interview.
Danny: You’re welcome, Dan! Thanks for the burger!
For a much more focused description of Danger Dan’s adventures, check out these links to Danger Dan Confronts the Merlion Mastermind: Issue #1, and Danger Dan Tackles the Majulah Mayhem: Issue #2. Don’t miss out on the release of Danger Dan Spooks the Peculiar Peranakan Pirate this May; you’re bound to catch it on Epigram Books’, or Danger Dan’s Facebook page.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Winner of the Red Dot Book Awards 2013-2014
1st Place, Younger Readers’ Category
Sherlock Sam and the Missing Heirloom in Katong by A.J. Low, illustrated by drewscape
The first instalment of popular children’s book series, Sherlock Sam, has bagged first place in the Young Readers’ category of the Red Dot Book Awards 2013-2014.
Hosted by the International School Libraries (ISLN) in Singapore, the Red Dot Book Awards were created to recognise titles enjoyed by students of various ages. Books judged under the Younger Readers’ category are targeted at children aged 7-10 years old. Winning titles are chosen based on readers’ votes.
We are also honoured that Sherlock Sam and the Missing Heirloom in Katong is the only local title that has snagged a Red Dot award, across its four categories.
For interviews with the creators, review copies, or further media enquiries, please contact Ilangoh Thanabalan at firstname.lastname@example.org, or at +65 6292 4456.
ABOUT THE SHERLOCK SAM SERIES
Meet Singapore’s greatest kid detective, Sherlock Sam. With his robot sidekick Watson, and a loyal group of friends, Sherlock Sam will stop at nothing to solve the case, no matter how big or small!
Hailed as a “worthy successor to beloved child sleuths like Encyclopedia Brown and Cam Jansen” by renowned author E.C. Myers, Sherlock Sam has enjoyed wild success, selling more than 14,000 copies in its first year of publication. The series is set in areas of interest in Singapore and the region, featuring delicacies, landmarks and other cultural aspects that are uniquely Southeast Asian. Catch up with Sherlock Sam’s latest happenings here.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
The writers behind the pseudonym A. J. Low are the husband-and-wife team, Adan Jimenez and Felicia Low-Jimenez. Born in California, Adan moved to Singapore after graduating from New York University with an English Literature degree. He previously co-wrote a children’s book, Twisted Journeys #22: Hero City. Felicia was born and raised in Singapore. She has a graduate degree in Literary Theory, and the Sherlock Sam series is Felicia’s debut writing effort, after accumulating years of experience buying, selling and marketing books.
ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR
drewscape (Andrew Tan) is a freelance illustrator from Singapore. He illustrates and draws storyboards for advertising agencies as well as for magazines. He enjoys creating comics purely for the fun and challenge of it.
ALSO IN THE SHERLOCK SAM SERIES
Winner of the 2013 Hedwig Anuar Children’s Book Award
Where’s Grandma? By Edmund Lim and Illustrated by Tan Zi Xi
Singapore, 29 May 2013—Epigram Books is very proud to announce that Where’s Grandma? by Edmund Lim and illustrated by Tan Zi Xi has been awarded this year’s Hedwig Anuar Children’s Book Award (HABA).
The award is presented biennially for an outstanding book for children written by a Singaporean or PR. Its aims are to encourage the quality and quantity of books published for children, as well as promoting the publication of books set in a familiar and meaningful background that is relevant to children in Singapore.
Where’s Grandma? is a poignant tale of a boy’s struggles to come to terms with his beloved Grandma’s deteriorating condition due to Alzheimer’s disease. With Tan Zi Xi’s sensitive and understated illustrations, the book evokes powerful emotions in anyone who has dealt with the loss of their loved ones.
Where’s Grandma? was also selected for the 2012 READ Singapore! Campaign organised by the National Library of Singapore.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Edmund Lim is an educator who has taught in the National Institute of Education. Edmund enjoys reading and writing. He hopes that his storybooks will engage readers, young and old. His love for his grandparents and family, along with his desire to educate children, inspired him to write Where’s Grandma?
ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR
Tan Zi Xi studied at Central Saint Martins (London) on a DesignSingapore scholarship and currently works full-time as an independent illustrator. Zi Xi recently held her first solo exhibition at The Art Studio in Singapore. She has been recognized with several awards and commendations, and was a finalist in the London International Creative Competition 2010.
ABOUT MRS HEDWIG ANUAR
Mrs Hedwig Anuar was the first Singaporean Director of the National Library of Singapore, a position she held from 1960 until her retirement in 1988. Though she put in place the foundations of the modern library system in Singapore and made contributions to all aspects of library work, this award recognises her outstanding contribution to children’s librarianship and the promotion of books and reading for children.
“A heartwarming and well illustrated story”,
Ken Spillman, Chief Judge, HABA picture book Awards.
“I am glad and grateful for this award and pleased that our work will touch the lives of children and our society”,
Edmund Lim, 2013 Hedwig Anuar Children’s Picture Book Winner.
“I feel privileged to have worked with Edmund on this project, and I am pleased to know that the illustrations complemented so well the story that Edmund wrote”
Tan Zi Xi, 2013 Hedwig Anuar Children’s Picture Book Winner.
“We took a chance on a very important topic and both the authors and illustrator did a fantastic job”,
Edmund Wee, Publisher of Epigram Books.
“This is a fantastic win-win situation for Singapore literature and for Singaporean picture books”,
Sheralyn Tan, Editor of Picture Books, Epigram Books.
For further media enquiries, please contact Cathlin Anabella at email@example.com or at +65 6292 4456.
At Epigram Books, we value not only quality writing, but also well-designed books. Recently we have put out four titles for children, translated from the original Italian, Spanish, Korean and French into English. We love how these these books can be enjoyed not only by young ones but also by adults, with their heartwarming stories and beautiful illustrations!
Enjoy the following video from Kim Da-Jeong, writer and illustrator of Blanket Travel, about two siblings who reassure their sister that nighttime can be fun rather than scary. From diving into oceans to riding a kangaroo, they travel together everywhere on their blanket.
Da-Jeong graduated in 2006 from Kookmin University in Seoul, South Korea, where she studied painting. She is currently pursuing a graduate degree in illustration. Blanket Travel, published for the first time by Epigram Books, is her first children’s book. We would like to thank her for taking the time to specially film this video for us!
In this week’s A Day in the Life, we hear from Sheri, one of our newest editors. Sheri brings to Epigram Books years of children’s book editing experience garnered from her time with the publishing powerhouse in the US, Simon & Schuster.
Okay, so I’ve been at Epigram Books since April, just long enough to learn a couple of important things:
I need to wear my fleece jacket at all times. The blast of arctic air from the air-conditioner hits my desk (and my face) at just the right angle. An Eskimo would be so happy. I’ve moved my monitor around to shield the blast as much as possible, and it helps...somewhat. Now I just need to get one of those fingerless gloves so I can still type.
Lunchtime is taken very seriously. Everybody goes out to lunch! Having worked in publishing in New York for a while, I’m more used to the culture of bringing your own lunch—leftovers, sandwiches, whatever you find that’s edible in your fridge—as buying lunch would cost at least US$10, and that can get kind of expensive if you eat out everyday. So at lunchtime in NY, there’s always a long line for the microwave. When I first started here, I’d bring my leftovers . . . and there would be no line for the microwave (I was so pleased, I thought I had gotten to it ahead of everyone!). In fact, I found out that NO ONE uses the microwave. No wonder it looks brand-new.
Anyway, this is what my day at Epigram Books looks like:
9am Walk through the glass doors; turn on computer; put on fleece jacket, make myself a cup of hot tea (it helps stave off the cold).
9:05 Go through e-mails; respond to authors asking for a more time to finish their manuscripts, authors with questions on their contracts, potential authors asking what I think of their ideas.
9:45 One of the series of children’s books that I’m handling includes picture books that were published by foreign publishers in France, Korea, Spain, and Italy. We will be translating the text and publishing the books in English for Singapore. So I make sure that the contracts with the publishers are in order, contact the translators and give them deadlines, work with the designer to get the covers for our edition ready for publicity purposes.
10:30 Another series of picture books I’m working on is written by prominent local personalities. They are tasked to retell fairy tales with a Singapore flavour. Some of the authors are new to the picture book genre, and need a bit of guidance to craft and flesh out satisfying stories.
10:45 Edmund (the head honcho) prods my back to ask about the status of one of my projects. Should we cancel it? he asks. I tell him no, the author just needs more time. And then there’s further discussion about salvaging other projects that seem to be falling by the wayside.
11:30 Ah, I can get back to actual work.
12 noon LUNCHTIME!! The office gets a little noisy now as papers are pushed aside and people discuss where to go, what to eat. Yes, I no longer bring anything to microwave. What’s the point, when a hot, tasty meal is available for SGD$3? Oh yeah, I also want to enjoy the company of my colleagues.
1 p.m. Figure out the publishing plan for other authors and picture books on my list. Some involve republishing out-of-print titles, all of them require illustrators. I review illustrator portfolios and put on my “matchmaker” hat. When the right illustrator is paired with the right manuscript, it is a match made in heaven.
2 p.m. Quitting time for me at Epigram Books. Now it’s on to my other job as mum to two active young boys. I turn off the computer, take off my fleece jacket, and open the glass doors, happy to step out into the very warm sunshine.
Meet 9-year-old Delia Lee, who is becoming an author and is our first young comics writer and artist featured on our blog. She wrote and posted us a letter, and shared a comic she drew. In her letter, Delia insists, “I AM A CHILD! SERIOUSLY!”
We believe you, Delia and must say that you are a very accomplished child with a great ear for dialogue.
The comic brings to life a conversation she had with her mum which resulted in her mail to us. In the comic, her mum informs Delia that the hardest part of becoming an author is finding a publisher. An avid fan of The Diary of Amos Lee, Delia hits on contacting us at Epigram Books with her ardent proposal to publish her comic “if it is good”.
Having studied in Macau for 7 years, Delia says studying in Singapore is more fun and tells us about a schoolmate in Macau who wants everything everyone else has. Stay tuned next week to read in Delia’s letter, what this girl does when she is refused. A master at manipulation at such a young age…
Delia, we had a blast reading your comic and would like you to keep drawing and writing your witty stories with such snappy dialogue. We’ll be glad to receive a manuscript from you for your first comic book.
We send our love, from all of us at Epigram Books. Thank you for making our lives at work special and extra-fun with your heartfelt letter and comic!