Books by Straits Times writers win Popular Readers' Choice awards

True-crime anthology Guilty As Charged won first prize in the English (adult) category at the annual Popular Readers' Choice Awards.
True-crime anthology Guilty As Charged won first prize in the English (adult) category at the annual Popular Readers' Choice Awards.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE - True-crime anthology Guilty As Charged bagged one of the top prizes at the annual Popular Readers' Choice Awards on Saturday morning.

The book, which delves into the gory details of crimes like the Adrian Lim murders, won first prize in the English (adult) category.

Guilty As Charged, which has sold around 8,000 copies, was edited by Straits Times associate news editor Abdul Hafiz.

"It's great that Popular gives readers a voice to pick their favourite books, and I do appreciate readers taking time to put in their votes," Mr Hafiz said.

"The book, while it does capture a slice of Singapore's dark underbelly, also highlights the sacrifices and solid detective work the police put in keeping the country safe."

Another Straits Times writer, Opinion editor Chua Mui Hoong, won third prize in the same category for Singapore, Disrupted.

Her book examines how disruptive technologies displace jobs and entrench social divisions while also tackling topics from the class divide to political change.


Both books are published by The Straits Times Press.

The awards were conferred on the second day of Popular's annual BookFest at the Suntec Singapore Exhibition and Convention Centre.

Other winners included Spiaking Singlish by poet Gwee Li Sui, second in the English (adult) category, and Ellie Belly: Not A Penguin by Eliza Teoh, the ninth book in the bestselling Ellie Belly series. Ms Teoh's book won the first prize in the English (children) category.

Ms Teoh, who based the title character on her younger daughter Ellie, said years of hard work lie behind her success: "A book doesn't just sit on the bookshelf and get discovered."

She recalled how she visited school after school to talk about the first book in her series, which was published in 2011. "I visited 50 schools in the first year - that's practically one school a week."

A total of 30 books across three categories - English (adult), English (children) and Chinese - were nominated for the Readers' Choice Awards. They included Retire Smart by Sunday Times invest editor Lorna Tan, as well as other titles from The Straits Times Press such as Travails of a Trailing Spouse by Stephanie Suga Chen and Market Smart by Goh Eng Yeow.

Mr Peter Lee, group chief financial officer of Popular Holdings, said the awards, which are now in their seventh edition, aim to give local authors a platform to showcase their writing.

"We want to recognise and reward the years of hard work that go into good writing, and in turn encourage more writers to come forth," he said.

Mr Tan Ooi Boon, general manager of The Straits Times Press, said: "As a book publisher, we believe that good books should be read by the most number of readers.

"We will continue to work harder and do better so that we can create more books that will enlighten our readers."