The Art Of Charlie Chan Hock Chye chosen as one of the year's best by international media

International media has picked The Art Of Charlie Chan Hock Chye as one of the best books of the year.
International media has picked The Art Of Charlie Chan Hock Chye as one of the best books of the year. PHOTO: EPIGRAM BOOKS
Graphic novelist Sonny Liew posing with two copies of his book The Art Of Charlie Chan Hock Chye.
Graphic novelist Sonny Liew posing with two copies of his book The Art Of Charlie Chan Hock Chye.ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

SINGAPORE - Local graphic novel The Art Of Charlie Chan Hock Chye by Sonny Liew has won numerous accolades from international publications this year.

It was the only graphic novel to make it onto The Economist magazine's Books of Year 2016, joining non-fiction titles such as China's Future by David Shambaugh and Black Wind, White Snow: The Rise Of Russia's New Nationalism by Charles Clover in the political section.

It was also picked as one of the year's best graphic novels by several media outlets, including The Washington Post newspaper, trade publication Publishers Weekly and radio network National Public Radio (NPR).

The Art Of Charlie Chan Hock Chye, which was published in Singapore last year by Epigram Books, is a satirical retelling of Singapore's journey to nationhood through the eyes of a fictional Singaporean artist.

 
 

Written and drawn by Liew, a Malaysia-born Singapore citizen, it became the subject of controversy after The Straits Times broke the news that the National Arts Council had withdrawn an $8,000 publishing grant awarded to the novel.

The book includes satires and caricatures of Singapore's late founding premier, Mr Lee Kuan Yew, as well as his political rival, Mr Lim Chin Siong.

It has since gone on to be the first local graphic novel to win the Singapore Literature Prize and also climbed to the top of bestsellers lists for Amazon and The New York Times earlier this year.

Veteran culture critic John Powers, reviewing the book for NPR Fresh Air, has described it as a "startlingly brilliant tour de force".

The book is now in its seventh print run in Singapore. It was published in the United States by Pantheon Books, and is due for release next year in France by Urban Comics, in Italy by BAO Publishing and in Spain by Dibbuks.