68 writers submit manuscripts to inaugural Epigram fiction prize

Epigram Books publisher Edmund Wee.
Epigram Books publisher Edmund Wee.ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

Some 68 individuals are gunning for Singapore's newest and richest literary award, the Epigram Books Fiction Prize, which gives $20,000 cash to the winner.

The open call, which ended yesterday, yielded 69 submissions from 68 writers (one person submitted two entries). Almost 90 per cent of the entrants were Singapore citizens.

Mounted by local publisher Epigram Books without the help of government grants or sponsors, the annual prize aims to promote unpublished English language novels. It is open to Singaporeans, permanent residents and Singapore-born authors.

The award caused a stir when it was first announced in March as its $20,000 prize purse makes it twice as large as the next largest literary prize here, the biennial Singapore Literature Prize.

The Epigram prize shortlist will be announced on Sept 28; the winning manuscript will be announced on Nov 5 at a gala dinner and it will be published by Epigram Books.

Epigram Books' founder Edmund Wee leads the four-man judging panel, which also includes Professor Philip Holden from the Department of English Language and Literature at the National University of Singapore, lawyer Adrian Tan who penned the popular novel, The Teenage Textbook, and actress and former Nominated Member of Parliament, Janice Koh.