Coffee table books had their day at this year's Singapore Book Awards, as an art book took home the top honours last night at the industry awards, which recognise the best in local book publishing.
Building Memories: People. Architecture. Independence, about four iconic buildings from Singapore's history, won not just in the newly minted Best Illustrated Non-Fiction Title category, but also the overall Book Of The Year award.
The interactive book, which features buildings such as the now-defunct red-brick National Library and National Theatre, was described by the judging panel as "a time capsule in a book format" and "outstandingly beautiful in its production and ingenious in its assembly and presentation".
Mr Yeo Yeok Chuan, 51, who published the book through his creative agency, Achates 360, said: "I am completely surprised because it is our first time and we are a small independent publisher. This is confirmation that publishing a book goes beyond just text." He worked on the book with writer Lai Chee Kien and artist Koh Hong Teng.
The Best Illustrated Non-Fiction Title is a new category of the annual awards, which are organised by the Singapore Book Publishers Association and held last night at Pan Pacific Singapore.
Association president Peter Schoppert said: "Illustrated non-fiction is a category in which Singaporean publishers have excelled for a long time, since the 1980s, and we thought we should recognise it now as we expand our book awards."
Epigram Books won the Best Fiction Title - O Thiam Chin's novel about failing relationships, Now That It's Over - and Best Young Adult Title - Low Ying Ping's Mount Emily Revisited, from a series about time-travelling schoolgirls.
This is the third edition of the awards, first held in 2012. A total of 38 titles were shortlisted this year.