Singapore stories by Singapore's largest independent publisher of fiction and non-fiction for all ages.

EB Xmas Pop Up 2013

We’re celebrating Christmas with unbelievable prices at our Christmas Pop Up Store!

Come and do all your holiday shopping with us. It’s time to share the love of books this holiday season.

What can you expect?

Well, we’ve released 20 NEW TITLES since August and these include:

- Plusixfive: A Singaporean Supper Club Cookbook
- Five Children’s Picture Books
- Three additions to our Cultural Medallion Series
- Four new Literary Fiction Titles

And many more!

Plus, a total of 30 NOTBOOKS to choose from (Secret Santa gifts anyone?).
P.S. “I’m Not Kiasu, I’m Singaporean” is in stock!

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Please note: All sales are on CASH TERMS ONLY

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10 am – 6 pm
7th and 8th December 2013
Epigram Books
1008 Toa Payoh North
#03-08
Singapore 318996

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We hope to see you then!
It can be a little difficult to find us to here’s some help

Staff Picks!

We Love Toa Payoh | Sam, Sebbie and Di-Di-Di: At the Night Safari | Penghulu

Sam, Sebbie and Di-Di-Di: At the Night Safari | Only the Best! | Myth of the Stone: 20th Anniversary Edition

Ministry of Moral Panic | The Epigram Books Collection of Best New Singaporean Short Stories: Volume One | The Last Lesson of Mrs de Souza | Clear Brightness

The Good, the Bad and the PSLE | Confrontation | The Short Stories & Radio Plays of S. Rajaratnam

The Robot in My Playground | The Crane and the Crab | Mum’s Not Cooking

November 13, 2013 by Epigram Books Admin

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
 
ABOUT THE BOOKS

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!

ABOUT THE CULTURAL MEDALLION SERIES

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!

AUTHORS/ILLUSTRATORS/TRANSLATORS

With these 10 new titles, we have a total of 28 authors, illustrators and translators at the festival this year.
ADELINE FOO, AJ LOW, ALFIAN SA’AT, ALVIN PANG, AMANDA LEE KOE, ANN PETERS, BOEY KIM CHENG, CHEW KOK CHANG, CYRIL WONG, EMILY LIM, GWEE LI SUI, ISA KAMARI, JADE FANG, JASON ERIK LUNDBERG, JEREMY TIANG, MOHAMED LATIFF MOHAMED, OH YONG HWEE, OVIDIA YU, ROBERT YEO, SHAFIQ SELAMAT, SHERMAY LOH, STEPHANIE YE, EDWIN THUMBOO, MARANNA CHAN, PAULINE LOH, WEI FEN LEE, WONG YOON WAH, YU-MEI BALASINGAMCHOW.

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

Interview with ‘Sherlock Sam’ Authors!

Happy New Year, dear readers! Here at Epigram Books, we’re looking forward to another year of putting out well-designed and thought-provoking titles. Today, we’re excited to present an interview with A.J. Low, the husband-and-wife writing team behind our latest children’s series, Sherlock Sam. The series follows “Singapore’s greatest kid detective” and his trusty robot sidekick Watson, and is illustrated by drewscape.

1. What are the ingredients that go into the making of a great children’s book? Are these aspects what you used or thought about in concocting the story of Sherlock Sam?

The same as any other kind of story: relatable characters and a good plot. Everything else is an added bonus (things like genre, humor, etc.) that can make a story better, but without that foundation of character and plot, readers, especially children, will be able to tell and will never pick up a book by you again.

For Sherlock Sam, we first focused on all the characters and tried to make them as great as possible. Sherlock, his sister Wendy, his parents, his robot, and his friend Jimmy make up the core of the first book, and we think readers of all ages will love them, and recognize them as people they might know (even possibly the robot). We think our plot is pretty good too, if we do say so ourselves, and was made better by invaluable input from various folk who read our initial drafts, especially our editor Ruth Wan. If you read our very first draft now, you’d think it was a completely different, and not as good, book as what we ended up with.

2. What kind of preparation and research went into the story and the series?

We researched Peranakan food a lot. Like, we ate it every day. That was fun research.

3. What are the characteristics of a good children’s writer in your opinion?

Again, the same as any other kind of writer: being able to write a good story that people will enjoy. I think it’s important to not talk down to children, but also understand that there are things they won’t be able to understand yet. It’s a fine line between “dumbing down” a story, and writing age-appropriate material, but I think we were able to hit that sweet spot in the middle with Sherlock Sam.

4. Describe your creative collaboration process as a writing duo.

We tend to plot out the book together, agree on all the major story beats and then get them down on paper, then we split up the actual writing: I’ll write a chapter, then she’ll write a chapter, etc. After that’s done, we go through it together and make sure everything makes sense and is cohesive. Chances are good that if something doesn’t make sense to your writing partner, it’s not going to make sense to anybody else either, so something needs to be changed.

5. Why would children enjoy this book and the series?

We set out to write a book that we ourselves would enjoy, at any age. Since we’re mostly still kids ourselves (you should see our LEGO collection!), and we enjoyed writing and reading the heck out of this book, we cannot imagine anybody else not enjoying reading this.

6. Why should parents buy this book for their children?

Because it’s good. It’s the only reason to ever buy any form of media.

7. What makes this book and the character of Sherlock Sam different from those of other investigative series?

We based a lot of Sherlock Sam’s mannerisms on his namesake, so he’s extremely intelligent, he has a food vice, and he wants to solve mysteries for their own sake. However, unlike Sherlock Holmes, Sherlock Sam is quite a nice person, so while he wants to solve mysteries because, in his mind, they all need to be solved, he also does it because he wants to help people. And he readily asks for and accepts help when he needs it. He’s not in it for the fame or money or prestige; he simply wants to help people and get to the bottom of things.

8. What were some of the key inspirations of the book and its characters?

Nancy Drew, the Famous Five, Scooby-Doo, and, of course, Sherlock Holmes. We’ve been watching a lot of detective shows as well, like Castle and Elementary, to help with our plotting. When and how to reveal clues is a very important element of all mystery fiction that we constantly have to keep up on.

9. What advice would you give to parents in bringing up their children as avid readers (having grown up to become avid readers and writers yourselves)?

Let them read. Let them run wild at a bookstore, or give them a library card, and let them read. If they ask to be read to, read to them (in fact, chase them around the house reading aloud to them). If they pick up something you think might be too advanced for them, don’t tell them to put it back. Instead, help them with it. Read it with them and explain words or concepts that they don’t yet know or understand.

Let them read.

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Look out for the first book in the series, Sherlock Sam and the Missing Heirloom in Katong, out later this month! In the meanwhile, explore the Sherlock Sam website and follow the Facebook page for exclusive content and behind-the-scenes sneak peeks.

See more of series illustrator drewscape’s work on his website and check out his collection of short comic stories, Monsters, Miracles & Mayonnaise, published by Epigram Books last year.

 

 

‘Spider Boys’: Interview with Author Ming Cher

Last week, our editor Jocelyn offered some insight into the editorial process behind Ming Cher’s Spider Boyspart of our Singapore Classics series—and gave us an overview of the gritty story set in 1950s Singapore. Today, read on to find out more about the novel from the author himself!

Epigram Books: What prompted you to write Spider Boys? At which point in your life did you write it?

Ming Cher: I wanted to write a novel about Singapore’s recent history since the country had changed so much over a 30-year period. I began writing in 1988 when my son Marco was five years old (Marco has an Australian mother) to show him something of my own childhood at around his age. I was living in Auckland and had just sold a shop on Grafton Road which I had owned for ten years (Batik Bazaar) and was at a loose end and needed something to do.

I also wanted to move into the present by setting down everything I knew personally about the past. The past is of value especially when it leads us into the future.

EB: How long did it take you to write Spider Boys?

MC: It took me four years to write Spider Boys. Writer’s block was always a problem and my English was not really up to the task. The writing went very, very slowly. A page often seemed to take an eternity.

EB: Which of the characters do you most closely identify yourself with? Why?

MC: I identify with most of them in a literary sense. I should stress that while it is not “my” story, many of them are based loosely on my friendsKwang, Chinatown Yeow, Sachee. It is however a work of fictionto protect the reputations of the innocent! Although it sounds autobiographical, it is not an autobiography. My own life has been different and often darker than the events within the book. I am however proud of all my characters in their struggle for survival and in their truth to themselves. They are colourful and essentially honest. There is a lot about life in Singapore that I do not wish to talk about.

EB: We understand that you grew up in Bukit Ho Swee, represented in the book as Ho Swee Hill. How did life change after the big fire in 1961?

MC: I was away from Bukit Ho Swee, living on construction sites wherever there was workJurong, Bedok. The whole face of Singapore was changing rapidly and we lived in workers’ camps wherever the big jobs were.

EB: Why did you leave Singapore? Do you think you’ll return any time in the future?

MC: I went to work in Sabah and then worked in Vietnam as a construction supervisor. I became a seaman and for seven years sailed all over the world with many of the big lines at that timeHogg Line, under the Norwegian flag, Neptune Orient Lines (Singapore), KDM Shipping.

However, my six brothers and sisters all remain in Singapore. If I return, it will be only as a visitor, since I relinquished my citizenship for citizenship in New Zealand.

   
Original 1995 Penguin and William Morrow editions of Spider Boys

EB: Spider Boys had been out of print for several years now. Do you have any particular thoughts on this new edition?

MC: I am delighted by this new Singaporean and Malaysian edition for many reasons. The first is that I am working on a sequel to Spider Boys, which follows the characters after the first novel ends. It is called Big Mole and any interest which comes as a result of the new edition may translate into interest in the sequel.

The second reason is that the book has never been published before in Singapore. It has been successful in the US, in Australia and New Zealand, and in Italy. It is the subject of many university courses on Asian writing in English but, really, has been looking for its true home for almost twenty 2 years.

The third reason is that it was written away from Singapore, and from memories of a distant past, so naturally there were some inaccuracies. The excellent team at Epigram Books, and in particular my editor there, Jocelyn Lau, have ensured through diligent historical investigation and enquiry that location and street names are all accurate for the time it was written, which means, in turn, that it will read more authentically for a contemporary Singaporean. These things do not matter in an “overseas” publication, but are vital in your homeland. Funnily enough, the Italian edition, I Ragazzi di Singapore, was very popular with readers there because in translation into the Italian tongue, the street slang of the spider boys rang true immediately for local readers!

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Find out more about Ming Cher’s Spider Boys and read sample pages from the novel here.

December 28, 2012 by Epigram Books Admin

‘Spider Boys’: A Book Recommendation by the Editor!

Spider Boys, by Ming Cher, was launched earlier this year as part of our Singapore Classics series. First published by Penguin New Zealand in 1995, Spider Boys has been re-edited to not only retain the flavour of colloquial Singapore English in the dialogues, but also to improve the accessibility of the novel for all readers by rendering the narrative into grammatical Standard English. Our intrepid editor Jocelyn Lau offers some insight into the painstaking yet rewarding editorial process she undertook:

“It’s like reliving my boyhood again.”
 Tan Kok Seng, author of Three Sisters of Sze, Son of Singapore and Man of Malaysia

When I first began the daunting task of re-editing the original edition of Spider Boys, published in 1995 by Penguin Books, New Zealand, I had to decide how to go about making the book more accessible to readers—both international as well as Singaporean and Malaysian. For me, not only was the use of tenses in the narrative and the dialogues inconsistent, but the depiction of the ‘street slang’ was not wholly accurate; I found it taxing to read beyond even the opening paragraphs.

The work involved ‘regularising’ the narrative so it conforms to standard English, and also retaining as much of the colloquial flavour in the dialogues as possible; this was so that readers from our part of the world would identify more closely with the language they use in informal banter, as they certainly would with the life in Singapore in the 1950s portrayed in Ming Cher’s novel.

As I turned the millstone, I was gratified to discover how handsomely the story would reward my efforts. Set in Chinatown and Bukit Ho Swee, two historically-rich neighbourhoods, Spider Boys is true to “[…] aspects of colonial Singapore in the mid-fifties: gangs and gang rivalry, fighting spiders, fighting fish, kite flying, adolescent angst, religious observances and superstitions amid working-class poverty”. (Robert Yeo, introduction, Spider Boys).

“As someone born in 1940, who also flew kites, kept fighting fish and spiders and took part in competitions […], knew gangsters in my district of Hougang and grew up hearing stories of old wives’ tales, I can testify to the authenticity of the novel.”
— Robert Yeo, introduction, Spider Boys

Gritty, it is unsentimental in its description of poverty: while the parents are out all day (or, in some cases of live-in servants, all month), the street children scrabble in mosquito-infested grasses for fighting spiders that would bring them extra pocket money through bartering or gambling, or in stench-filled monsoon drains for recyclable scraps for the karang guni men—while tourists took photographs of them. Grim, it tells how betrayal of one’s compatriots can result in untimely death—by knife, perhaps, plunged into the chest once in drunken sleep. Gripping, it is evident of first-hand experience in its richly textured account of Chinese festivals, such as the Hungry Ghosts Festival, and attendant superstitions—pontianak can be kept at bay with a six-inch coffin nail, for example, while one must be careful not to be suddenly shocked, because the soul can unknowingly jump out of its body.

But it’s not all gore. The teenage protagonists of the novel, Kwang and Kim, while grappling with the daily reality of making ends meet, also spend leisure moments chatting, playing with their fighting spiders and—exploring each other’s sexuality. When the heat from the ‘Spider Olympics’ intensifies, Kwang becomes increasingly obsessed about winning the Championship—equally for prestige as for the prize money, and his bored companion turns her attention to Kwang’s dangerous gangster rival, the smiling-faced Yeow, and finds herself on unfamiliar terrain.

“It reminds me of the old days, when your mum used to cut our hair by putting a rice bowl on our head! Very funny.”
— Priscilla Lee (my aunt!)

Hypnotic, arousing and shocking all at once, Spider Boys will especially endear itself to readers who grew up in Singapore between the late 1940s and early 1970s. To readers younger than this, the realness of the story, the palpable excitement in the plot and the historical value of the novel will appeal.

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Find out more about Ming Cher’s Spider Boys and read sample pages from the novel here. And visit our blog again next Wednesday for an insightful interview with the author himself!

 

December 21, 2012 by Epigram Books Admin

‘A New Home for Bo Bo and Cha Cha’: Interview with the Author

Here at Epigram Books, we’re especially excited about one of our latest children’s titles, A New Home for Bo Bo and Cha Cha, as it is written by one of our own—author Jason Erik Lundberg has been an editor here since September this year!

Bo Bo and Cha Cha have come to the Mandai Zoo! Bo Bo is excited, but Cha Cha is not.
Everything here seems too strange: the other animals, the heat, and the food!
Cha Cha wants to leave—until a caring sloth shows her what being home really means.

Read on to hear from Jason about his experiences working on the book:

What was it like working on a children’s book? Was it very different from editing or writing speculative fiction, which you have previously done?

Very different indeed! Writing for kids, especially for very young kids, was a big challenge, because you have to hit all of these emotional beats with character and plot, and do so in an entertaining way, and in language that is both simple enough for three- to seven-year-olds to understand but at the same time doesn’t talk down to them.

Many people think that writing picture books is easy; you’re only dealing with 32 pages, only about a thousand words (or less) of text, but children tend to be a much less forgiving audience than adults. If you can’t grab and keep their interest with a good story and interesting characters, they’re on to the next thing straight away.

I’d written a couple of middle grade stories prior to A New Home for Bo Bo and Cha Cha, but had never even considered writing picture books. However, when the opportunity arose, I took it as an exciting task, and actually had a great experience in doing so. Crucial to this as well was working with editor Sheri Tan, who has years of experience editing children’s books; after I’d come up with the basic story, we worked together closely to shape it into something that was compelling and meaningful, and also fun to read.

What was your process working with illustrator Patrick Yee? For instance, did his illustrations come first, or did he base them on your writing? Did you work collaboratively?

Patrick actually approached Epigram Books with the premise of the pandas coming to the zoo, as well as some initial illustrations, back in April or May, so I had some preliminary visuals to work with in my head. But in terms of story, I basically started from scratch, turning it from a concept that was more appropriate for a baby board book into a proper picture book with some emotional complexity.

Once Sheri and I had finalised the text, she sent the story to Patrick so that he could illustrate the pages based on her proposed layout. There was again some back-and-forth between him and Sheri about the artwork, and once that was all finished, everything was sent to our designer Andy Koh for the final publication layout.

Is there anything in particular you hope kids (or, in fact, any readers) will take away from the book?

At its heart, the book is about the experience of migrating to a new home, and having to deal with a different environment and culture, as well as the inevitable homesickness. It’s very much based on my own journey from the US to Singapore back in 2007, and all of the culture shock that arose from relocating to a country very different from my own. Many of Cha Cha’s complaints in the book—Singapore is too hot, the food is weird, the people behave strangely—were my own at the time.

But what I hope that kids, as well as older readers, will take away from the book is that, even if moving to a new place is a disruptive and disorienting experience, it is possible to feel at home there. That homesickness can feel horrible and never-ending at first, but that it will dissipate, and things will get better. People are surprisingly resilient and adaptable, especially children.

Jason reads his book with his daughter Anya.

Did you learn anything interesting or amusing about pandas in the process of writing the book? Did you have to do a lot of research on them?

I did some research on pandas before I started writing, but because we were on such a tight timeline, I wasn’t able to do as much as I would have liked. Regardless, what I found was fascinating. Many pandas are quite solitary creatures, and prefer to have lots of time to themselves; as an introvert, this appealed to me greatly, and I projected much of this temperament into Cha Cha’s personality. They can also be playful and gregarious, and so I steered Bo Bo’s character in this direction to show the contrast between the two of them.

Also, even though pandas’ digestive systems can accommodate different types of foods, including fruits and even meat (they’re actually classified as carnivores), they choose to solely eat bamboo; and because bamboo can only give them limited amounts of energy, they have to eat massive amounts of it. This seems counter-intuitive to survival, but since pandas appear happy to hang out in the mountains of China, where bamboo is plentiful, there’s no need to vary their diet.

What’s next for Bo Bo and Cha Cha? Can you give us any hints about their next adventures in Singapore?

A New Home For Bo Bo and Cha Cha is the first book in a planned series about the pandas’ new experiences, and the next three books have already been outlined; now I just need to write them! And that’s all I’ll reveal for now. :)

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A New Home for Bo Bo and Cha Cha is available in all good bookstores. Check out the book page and view sample pages on our website. You can also visit author Jason Erik Lundberg’s website and illustrator Patrick Yee’s website to find out more about their work!

December 14, 2012 by Epigram Books Admin

NOTBOOKS: New Titles, New Price, New Promotions!

Long-time readers of the Epigram Books blog may recall reading posts about our NOTBOOKS series  before. With the holiday season upon us, we’re excited to reveal four new titles, a new price and exclusive promotions!

 

NOTBOOKS now come in 20 different designs, each featuring a witty catchphrase and unique, eye-catching colours. Each NOTBOOK contains 128 flexibound and thread-sewn blank pages of quality paper for your scribbles and sketches. The matte hardcover and handy A6 size make them the perfect accessory for the creative, stylish individual who’s always on the go!

We’re also proud to share that design firm Epigram recently clinched the Bronze award in the Print category at the Singapore Design Awards 2012 for their work on NOTBOOKS!

NOTBOOKS are sure to be a great gift for those keen to make a statement with their stationery. Each NOTBOOK now costs just S$9.90 before GST (previously S$11.90 before GST). Order through our website and take advantage of our exclusive promotions now.

  • Buy 5 NOTBOOKS, get 1 free
  • Buy 8 NOTBOOKS, get 2 free
  • Buy 12 NOTBOOKS, get 4 free
  • Buy 14 NOTBOOKS, get 6 free

Best of all, you get to select your free NOTBOOKS!

Click here to order your NOTBOOKS online now!

NOTBOOKS are also sold at selected retailers including: Singapore Art MuseumNational Museum of SingaporeAsian Civilisation MuseumThe Shop at The Arts HouseSantriosTotally Hot StuffIsetan (Shaw House),BookaburraNBC (selected outlets),  Woods In the BooksCat SocratesStrangelets, De Walk in Wardrobe, Mono Yono (Plaza Singapura), This & That, Kiitos, Kalms (selected outlets) and A Curious Teepee.

Also stay tuned for announcements on holiday fairs where we will be selling NOTBOOKS!

November 30, 2012 by Epigram Books Admin

The Travels Of Amos Lee

It’s been an exciting few weeks for Singapore’s most famous toilet diarist, Amos Lee. He thought his world would come to an end when his diaries were stolen and published, but it seems fame and fortune await him! A director has even offered to adapt his diaries into a television show—but a new boy will take over from Amos. How unfair! The show must NOT go on! But will Amos succeed?

Fortunately, Amos hasn’t let his jealousy get him too down. In fact, he has been on some exciting travels!

 Checking out the toilets at Changi Airport—they're known to be amazingly clean!

Checking out the toilets at Changi Airportthey're known to be amazingly clean!
Oh wow! Can you guess which city Amos is in?
Oh wow! Can you guess which city Amos is in?

That's right—it's London! Amos is excited to see the famous Tower Bridge and the River Thames.
That's rightit's London! Amos is excited to see the famous Tower Bridge and the River Thames.

 

Looks like Amos is the star at Shakespeare's Globe theatre as well...
Looks like Amos is the star at Shakespeare's Globe theatre as well...

 

Look at that beautiful scenery! Can't wait to go swimming!

Look at that beautiful scenery! Can't wait to go swimming!

 

"Headed back to home, sweet home...gotta write in my diary about my great trip!"

"Headed back to home, sweet home...gotta write in my diary about my great trip!"


Wow, that looked like a ton of fun! Look out for more photos from Amos Lee’s exciting travels—coming soon.

In the meanwhile, now that the school holidays have started, are you headed on adventures overseas? Or perhaps you will be exploring Singapore’s hidden corners with your family and friends? We want to see YOUR travel photos! Send them to contact@amoslee.com.sg and who knows, you too might find fame like Amos Lee himself.

The Diary of Amos Lee 4: Lights, Camera, Superstar! is now out in bookstores. Don’t miss the final instalment in this series! You can also view more photos from the Amos 4 e-book launch at the Singapore Writers Festival here, and photos from the official launch at { prologue } bookstore here—a big thank you to those who joined us!

November 23, 2012 by Epigram Books Admin

A Day in the Life of Michelle

It’s time for another instalment of A Day in the Life! Read on to find out from Michelle about marketing efforts and events at Epigram Books.
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It’s been six months since I joined the publishing industry as an Editorial and Marketing Assistant for Epigram Books. To date, I’ve worked on or organised seven book events, emceed at four of these events and performed spoken word with a jazz band at our very own ‘Evening of Poetry and Music’ to celebrate the Singapore Pioneer Poets Series featuring the best of Edwin Thumboo, Robert Yeo and Kirpal Singh.

At last count, together with my manager Felicia I’ve launched, promoted and written to the press about our first graphic novels, three children’s titles, two food titles, one photography title, one travel book and one literary non-fiction collection. That’s a total of 29 books I’ve worked to promote in the last six months. Phew. On average that would make about four books a month but in reality, our publishing schedule does not work according to an average each month. Oh, and I’ve also co-produced three book videos to date with Meteor Workshop for our books. That was just too much fun to be called work.

Rock musician and friend Mik meets Singapore literary giant Edwin Thumboo
Rock musician and friend Mik meets Singapore literary giant Edwin Thumboo

Coming from a background of teaching drama, arts administration and a short stint in journalism and copywriting, a mid-career switch to publishing was a surprise just out-of-the-blue for me. I had just reconnected with my childhood love for comics and graphic novels having discovered Koh Hong Teng and Dave Chua’s Gone Case as well as Sonny Liew’s works. When a school friend with an illustrious career in the books industry called me about a part-time position in the publishing house she had moved to, something in me jumped. Before I knew it, I was tearing joyfully telling my soon-to-be employer why comics trump films any day. Before I knew it, I had my foot in the door of the enigmatic business of publishing. Before I knew it, I was hosting events I organised for books such as the never-before-published Mimi Fan, Singapore’s first English language play by a local, penned in 1962. I had come full circle from treading the hallowed boards as an actor since school days, to teaching students drama, to marketing plays and encouraging people to read Singapore literature and to buy books written by Singaporeans.

Actress Karen Tan, who once played Mimi Fan, at our event

Watching Karen Tan, who played Mimi Fan in a 1990 TheatreWorks production, tearfully express love to the late playwright Lim Chor Pee in the company of his family and friends meant something to me. I felt the same kind of gratitude as she did to him, as someone who also fell in love with the theatre and who never got over it. So did interviewing my local comic artist idols Koh Hong Teng and Sonny Liew who had been supporting me even before I joined Epigram Books at my jazz gigs at The Old Brown Shoe. Still, the most nerve-wracking experience I’ve had to go through apart from speaking in front of the likes of Singapore’s Ambassador-at-large Chan Heng Chee, was performing selected poetry by the likes of Edwin Thumboo, Kirpal Singh and Robert Yeo. It was a great honour to be trusted to present their works musically with my chosen genre of jazz and I will always be deeply humbled by the experience. If you’d like to see it, here is a preview on Epigram Books’ very own YouTube channel.

My best friend recently said to me, “I always see you posting about your work and photos of your events, glam glam all lah…” I related to him the analogy of the pretty-looking Mandarin ducks swimming on the lakes – elegant and calm above water, frenetic paddling below water. If you can see me as a Mandarin duck, that just about sums up this six-month-long Day in the Life of Michelle. This explains too why my blog post reads more like a retrospective than a Day in the Life account. It was six months in the making (or rather writing) as I just could not have written it until today.

For a taste of what the journey has been like for me this past year at Epigram Books, this is what it looks like above the water at least, in the public eye. Watch out for more Epigram Books titles and book events in 2012 and 2013!


With Denise Fletcher, author of Mum's Not Cooking: Favourite Singaporean Recipes for the Near Clueless or Plain Lazy, after a successful event!

‘Blanket Travel’ Illustration by Kim Da Jeong

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!

October 12, 2012 by Epigram Books Admin