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Singapore’s Richest Literary Prize Launched

For Immediate Release


SINGAPORE, 10 March 2015—Epigram Books is pleased to announce the launch of a new literary prize, the Epigram Books Fiction Prize.

The annual prize of S$20,000 is the richest literary award in Singapore. It is to be awarded to a Singaporean, Singaporean permanent resident or Singapore-born author for the best manuscript of a full-length, original and unpublished novel written in the English language. The first winner will be announced at this year’s Singapore Writers Festival in November 2015 and have his/her novel published by Epigram Books.

“We want to reward excellence in contemporary Singapore creative writing and to encourage the readership of high-quality Singapore literature by publishing the winning and shortlisted entries,” explains Edmund Wee, Publisher and CEO of Epigram Books.

The competition is now open for entries. The manuscript must be unpublished and uncontracted to a publisher. Four hard copies of the manuscript and a completed official entry form should be submitted by post or delivered by hand to Epigram Books at Block 1008 Toa Payoh North #03-08 Singapore 318996. The closing date for submissions is August 31, 2015, 6pm.

The judging panel will be chaired by Edmund Wee. The names of the other judges will be announced at a later date. For more information about the inaugural edition of the Epigram Books Fiction Prize, or for any queries, please visit

For interview opportunities or further media enquiries, please contact or +65 6292 4456.

About Epigram Books

An independent publisher based in Singapore, Epigram Books is known for putting together well-designed and thought-provoking titles. It began as a division of the multiple award-winning communications design firm Epigram but registered as a separate entity in July 2011 to champion Singaporean literature.

It is best known for the middle grade series, The Diary of Amos Lee, which has sold over 240,000 copies worldwide. Other landmark publications include translations of Cultural Medallion winners and new editions of out-of-print classic Singaporean novels.

In 2014, a debut short story collection Epigram Books published, Ministry of Moral Panic by Amanda Lee Koe, unanimously won the Singapore Literature Prize for English Fiction. 


Epigram Books Fiction Prize

The Epigram Books Fiction Prize promotes contemporary Singapore creative writing and rewards excellence in Singapore literature. The annual prize is Singapore’s richest literary award. S$20,000 is awarded to the Singaporean, permanent resident or Singapore-born author for the best manuscript of a full-length, original and unpublished novel written in the English language. The competition is now open for entries. The first winner will be announced at the Singapore Writers Festival in November 2015 and have his/her novel published by Epigram Books. Please download the official entry form and rules and regulations here

EB SWF 2013

New Titles, New Voices in local fiction and More Variety than ever!

With an increasingly diverse repertoire, Epigram Books is presenting its largest collection of books at this year’s Singapore Writers Festival! In addition, we have 28 authors, illustrators and translators who are in the festival’s programme in various capacities. We are very excited for the Singapore Writers Festival 2013 and are glad to share this excitement with you!

This year we worked with established authors to publish Cyril Wong’s first novel, The Last Lesson of Mrs de Souza, and the 20th Anniversary Edition of Gwee Li Sui’s Myth of the Stone. In addition, new voices are being presented in The Epigram Books Collection of Best New Singaporean Short Stories: Volume One and Amanda Lee Koe’s Ministry of Moral Panic. On top of all this, we have brand new Children’s Picture Books and additions to our Cultural Medallion series.

At the Singapore Writers Festival 2013, we will be launching 10 new titles under the “Brand New Books” segment. Spread across two days, our authors, editors, illustrators and translators will be at the Festival Pavillion (SMU Green) on 2 and 9 November 2013.

2 November 2013, Saturday

1130 – 1230
Ministry of Moral Panic – Amanda Lee Koe
The Epigram Books Collection of Best New Singaporean Short Stories: Volume One
The Last Lesson of Mrs de Souza – Cyril Wong

1430 – 1530
Tibby, the Tiger Bunny – Emily Lim | Illustrator: Jade Fang
The Robot in My Playground – Pauline Loh | Illustrator: Avina Tan
Myth of the Stone: 20th Anniversary Edition – Gwee Li Sui

9 November 2013, Saturday

1130 – 1230
Other Cities, Other Lives – Chew Kok Chang | Translator: Shelly Bryant
Durians are Not the Only Fruit – Wong Yoon Wah | Translator: Jeremy Tiang

1430 – 1530
The Tower – Isa Kamari | Translator: Alfian Sa’at
Confrontation – Mohamed Latiff Mohamed | Translator: Shafiq Selamat

Myth of the Stone: 20th Anniversary Edition by Gwee Li Sui
Gwee Li Sui’s Myth of the Stone, first published in 1993, is an endearing tale of one unlikely hero’s journey through an unfamiliar landscape. This 20th Anniversary Edition of Singapore’s first full-length graphic novel in English comes with improved art and bonus features.

The Epigram Books Collection of Best New Singaporean Short Stories: Volume One Edited by Jason Erik Lundberg
The best short fiction published by Singaporean writers in 2011 and 2012. Here are twenty unique and breathtaking literary insights into the Singaporean psyche, which examine what it means to live in this particular part of the world at this particular time.

The Last Lesson of Mrs de Souza by Cyril Wong
A retiring teacher reflects on her long career, and discovers a truth that will completely overturn her perceptions. The stunning first novel from award-winning poet Cyril Wong, The Last Lesson of Mrs de Souza is a tour de force, an exceptional examination of the power of choice and the unreliability of memory.

Ministry of Moral Panic by Amanda Lee Koe
A fresh collection of short fiction that transgresses the normal and examines the improbable necessity of human connection. Told in strikingly original prose, these are fictions that plough, relentlessly, the possibilities of understanding Singapore and her denizens discursively, off-centre. Ministry of Moral Panic is an extraordinary debut collection and the introduction of a revelatory new voice.

Confrontation by Mohamed Latiff Mohamed | translated by Shafiq Selamat
Seen through the unique perspective of the young Malay boy Adi, this fundamental period in Singaporean history is brought to life with masterful empathy. In the tradition of Ben Okri’s The Famished Road and Anita Desai’s The Village By the Sea, Confrontation is an incredible evocation of village life and of the consequences that come from political alignment.

Tibby, the Tiger Bunny by Emily Lim | illustrated by Jade Fang
In this cheerful tale about fitting in and acceptance, Tibby, a black-and-orange striped rabbit changes the minds of other rabbits after he shows them what he’s really made of.

Robot in My Playground by Pauline Loh | illustrated by Avina Tan
Lucas loves robots. Especially the robot in the playground by his house. He wishes that robot would wake up, so that Lucas can play with him. And one night, he does!


The Cultural Medallion is Singapore’s highest cultural award, given to those who have achieved artistic excellence in the areas of literature, dance, music, theatre and art. Epigram Books’ Cultural Medallion series is a commitment to bringing works written in native tongues to a wider audience. Matching the acclaimed writers with talented translators such as Alfian Sa’at, Shelly Bryant and Jeremy Tiang, these books are being made available to an English-language audience for the first time.

Following the launch of the first five titles in our Cultural Medallion series at the Singapore Writers Festival 2012, Epigram Books is launching three new titles this year!

Other Cities, Other Lives by Chew Kok Chang | translated by Shelly Bryant
A collection of mini-fiction by Cultural Medallion-winner Chew Kok Chang. Told in the elegant, spare style of a Chinese scholar, Chew’s micro-fiction reflects the voice of his generation, living through a time of immense change in the region.

Durians Are Not the Only Fruit: Notes from the Tropics by Wong Yoon Wah | translated by Jeremy Tiang
A collection of nature writing and essays about Malaysia and Singapore from scholar and Cultural Medallion-winner Dr Wong Yoon Wah. Both personal and informative, this selection of Wong’s essays is a stunning re-addition to the creative non-fiction landscape.

The Tower by Isa Kamari | translated by Alfian Sa’at
From Cultural Medallion-winner Isa Kamari comes a masterful tale of success and failure, which has been translated for the first time into English by Alfian Sa’at, his debut work of translation.

All books will be hitting bookshelves soon so keep an eye out at your favourite bookstore!


With these 10 new titles, we have a total of 28 authors, illustrators and translators at the festival this year.

Apart from the “Brand New Books” segment at the Festival Pavilion, many of our authors will be participating in the different programmes at various venues during the festival. One of which is the Sherlock Sam Treasure Hunt! On the 3rd and 9th of November, as part of the “Little Lit” programme, AJ Low will be conducting a Sherlock Sam Treasure Hunt. 

We are very excited to be contributing so much to the Singapore Writers Festival this year and we hope to see you there!

October 03, 2013 by Epigram Books Admin

Goodbye 2011, Hello 2012

Happy New Year to one and all! In this special Q&A, Epigram Books staff look back on the year nearly over and gaze into the months ahead.

1. What was one of your favourite projects this year?

Sok Wan: I enjoyed working on all of the projects! I worked on a variety of projects this year: a play collection, a food guidebook, a cookbook, a photography book and also a children’s book. But if I had to pick my favourite, it would be The Fish Book. The fish photographs by Ernest are all so whimsical and quirky! I think it is amazing that he managed to capture various moods (happy, sad, grouchy, cheeky, etc.) of the fish. I never knew fishes were so expressive!

Min: The time I spent working on Epigram Books’ website and Facebook community was pretty rewarding. Besides the fun of conceptualising and writing blog entries and Facebook posts, it was interesting to learn how WordPress and Facebook page administration worked behind the scenes.

Ruth: I really enjoyed working on Archibald and the Blue Blood Conspiracy by SherMay Loh. I love SherMay’s writing, and it was fun working with Imaginary Friends Studios to illustrate the book and see the characters come to life through their amazing drawings. Conceptualising the book cover with our designer, Stefany, was also a cool experience––we had a lot of discussion about “imagining” the scene that is now the front cover of the book.

2. What was a high point of your year?

Sok Wan: Selling NOTBOOKS at the MAAD Pajamas market. It was quite tiring to stand at our stall (by the road and no shelter!) for 8 hours straight, but seeing the NOTBOOKS sell like hot cakes was really exhilarating! It was also fun to see groups of people crowding around our NOTBOOK banner laughing as they pointed at different NOTBOOKS to assign the different titles to their friends. I am looking forward to seeing more NOTBOOK-related merchandise come out next year!

Min: I was thrilled to sit in on an exploratory meeting that included several local comic artists. I’ve been reading some of their comics for years and it was fascinating to see these creators in person and hear the personal thoughts and concerns outside of their works.

Ruth: One of the high points was selling Chong Tze Chien’s collection of plays, Four Plays, at the staging of Charged in July 2011. Why was this a high point? For one, the book sold like crazy! We could hear the click-clack of our little cash box opening and closing all night long. Secondly, it was the first time the whole Epigram Books team hauled itself down to execute a book launch. We were like travelling salesmen for the night, carrying posters, books, spare cash, receipts, and we even had to do catering that night! Talk about one multi-talented editorial team, plus it was a bonding experience!

3. Name a person or thing that inspired you. Why did they inspire you?

Sok Wan: Madam Padma Krishnan is a very lovely person who is fiercely passionate about cooking. I am glad we published her cookbook which fulfilled her wish to document her family’s recipes so that future generations can get to taste authentic South Indian cuisine. I can still remember the scrumptious feast she prepared for us when we went to her house for food tasting––the food she cooked was truly inspirational and till today, the colleagues who came along for the food tasting are still asking when we can have a meal at her place again!

Min: The Epigram Books and Epigram team! It’s a pleasure to come in every day knowing at some point someone will make you laugh, teach you something new, or complete whatever request you might make with professionalism and grace.

Ruth: For a while, being the only Editor with a car, I played “delivery man” and helped deliver our NOTBOOKS to several lifestyle shops in Singapore. I am very encouraged by shops like Cat Socrates and Woods in the Books. These are small, quirky, independent locally-owned lifestyle shops, started by people with great passion and vision. I’m glad there’s still the spirit of enterprise and passion out there in our local shops–that really makes me happy!

4. What are you looking forward to next year?

Sok Wan: I am looking forward to working on upcoming photography books under our Wee Editions imprint. Titles that are scheduled to be released in 2012 include The Effigies Book, The Teochew Muay Book, and The Durian Book, to name a few. We hope to expand our photography titles in 2012 and I’d like to take this opportunity to invite all interested local photographers to contact us if you have any works you’d like to publish, or if you have ideas for a photography book!

Min: It looks like we’re adding to our marketing resources in the new year, so I look forward to thinking up publicity and marketing strategies to get Epigram Books’ titles in the hands of people who would enjoy them…even if they may not know it yet.

Ruth: I am looking forward to editing the five Cultural Medallion works we are publishing in English next year. These will be works by Chinese authors You Jin, Xi Ni Er and Dr Wong Meng Voon, Tamil author M. Balakrishnan and Malay author Suratman Markasan. We have been hard at work putting the series together, meeting these luminary Cultural Medallion authors and identifying good translators who will do justice to their works. For me, having read some of You Jin’s works in Chinese before, I especially look forward to editing her works in English! Happy New Year everyone!