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Singapore writers, publishers call for better book awards

Published on Jan 7, 2013 4:35 PM
Mr Lawrence Wong (centre), Acting Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, with the winners in the Malay category of the Singapore Literature Prize 2012. They include Mr Ahmad Jaaffar Munasip (right), who won a merit prize, as well as (from left) Mr Peter Augustine Goh, Mr Rohman Munasip and Mr Yazid Hussein, who all received commendation prizes. -- PHOTO: JACOB KONG

With more fiction and poetry being published in Singapore, local literary awards need to adapt, say writers and publishers.

Figures from local publishers reveal that around 80 new books of fiction and verse were published in English alone last year and at least 40 the year before. However, the biennial Singapore Literature Prize, given out last November, received only 57 entries across four language categories.

This is the lowest number of entries in six years for the award which offers a $10,000 prize to the best book submitted in Chinese, English, Malay or Tamil.

Some say the Singapore Literature Prize could do with an image update. Writer Dave Chua, 43, says: "I think most Singaporeans don't really know the award winners and the organisation doesn't do much to promote the award."

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