Epigram Books Blog
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Singaporean permanent resident or Singapore-born author for the best manuscript of a full-length, original and unpublished novel written in the English language.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 The manuscript must be unpublished and uncontracted to a publisher.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 www.epigrambooks.sg.
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.
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to the Singaporean, permanent resident or Singapore-born author for the best manuscript of a full-length, original and unpublished novel written in the English language.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.
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
9 November 2013, Saturday
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!
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!
In this week’s installment of A Day in the Life we hear from Jason, another valuable and recent addition to our editorial team. A published author, editor, teacher and small-press owner, Jason brings to Epigram Books a wealth of literary experience.
The life of a book editor was always something very mysterious to me growing up and reading fiction, and then still later after becoming an author myself (you can find me online at JasonLundberg.net). What power those people must have, I thought, and what fun. They are the ones who determine what books get published, and they get to include their fundamental love of reading and books into their daily job.
After a month as one of Epigram Books’ newest editors, I can say that much of the mystery has fallen away, but the passion remains. I had editing and publishing experience as an anthologist prior to being hired—Scattered, Covered, Smothered (Two Cranes Press, 2004), A Field Guide to Surreal Botany (Two Cranes Press, 2008) and Fish Eats Lion: New Singaporean Speculative Fiction (Math Paper Press, 2012)—but acquiring and editing books as a house editor is a completely different animal.
Our fiction publishing line has thus far largely consisted of reprinting older works, of bringing them back into the public consciousness after years of being out of print, which is a noble endeavor; but our publisher, Edmund Wee, is also eager to release new and original titles, to show that Epigram Books is committed to championing the best new Singaporean writing in English. And that’s where I come in.
So far, I’ve mostly been working on titles that Epigram Books has already acquired, and shepherding them into shape for publication in 2013. I’m working with authors of both novels and short story collections of the literary variety, although I’m also very interested in speculative fiction as well (since that is my specialty), and hope to start bringing in more SF to our stable as well (submission guidelines are here).
One of the unexpected benefits of this job has been the projects that have come up because of an immediate need to be filled. This has resulted in me writing a children’s picture book about the pandas who have just arrived at the Singapore Zoo, and curating a biennial anthology series of best new Singaporean short stories. Both of these projects are stretching me as a writer and editor, and likely would not have happened if I were not in the right place at the right time.
I’m part-time at Epigram Books, meaning that I only work mornings. My days consist of emailing the authors with whom I’m working to ensure that everything is coming in on time and to our satisfaction, editing the text in Microsoft Word (thank goodness for change tracking), reading and assessing other manuscripts that have been sent in over the transom for quality and marketability, drawing up author contracts based on our standard template, applying for publication grants from the National Arts Council, and meeting with the rest of the editorial staff to discuss our production timelines.
In the afternoons, I’m free to work on freelance projects, and to get my own novel into decent shape (I finished writing it in August, and have just completed my own second editing pass; I hope to have it ready for first readers by end of October). It’s a situation that has worked very well for me so far, enabling some steady income but still giving me time to pursue my own creative passions. I’ll be appearing in my authorial capacity at the Singapore Writers Festival in November.
I have to give many thanks to Edmund Wee for recognising my potential as a book editor and bringing me aboard Epigram Books. It’s a relationship that I hope will continue for many years to come!
If you’ve ever wanted to learn more about Singapore’s literary heritage, this is the event for you! The Singapore Classics book launch is part of the featured Singapore Writers Festival event, “Revisiting Singapore’s Literary Heritage”. This talk features Dr Philip Holden as moderator and distinguished guests, Robert Yeo and Andrew Koh. They will be discussing all five books in the SG Classics series among other topics.
Date: Saturday, 29th October 2011
Time: 1.30 to 3pm (Book sale & signing from 1.30pm, talk from 2pm)
Venue: The Salon, 1st floor, National Museum of Singapore, 93 Stamford Road Singapore 178897
RSVP: An informal RSVP is requested to email@example.com.
As this is a featured event of SWF, a Festival Pass ($15) must be purchased via SISTIC or at the Festival Pavilion to attend.
During the event, you’ll also get a chance to take home these iconic novels. Books and limited edition book sets will be sold at the special launch prices of $16 and $78 respectively.
Only 200 box sets total are available for sale (100 sets at the special launch price) and they are individually numbered. To order your box set for pick up at the book launch, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Box sets are also available in major bookstores for $79.90 each. As you can see from the photos below, the set will make a dashing addition to any library.