Four books by SPH Media claim top prizes at Popular’s Readers’ Choice Awards

Plantation to Parliament: My Story So Far, written by former MP Lee Bee Wah (right) and author Hong Weixi, clinched the first prize in the English (adult) category. PHOTO: POPULAR

SINGAPORE – Four books published by SPH Media bagged top awards at the annual Popular Readers’ Choice Awards on Saturday.

Plantation To Parliament: My Story So Far, written by former MP Lee Bee Wah and author Hong Weixi, clinched the first prize in the English (adult) category.

Published by Focus Publishing, a custom publishing subsidiary of SPH Media, the book is an account of how Ms Lee overcame hurdles and rose from a girl in a rubber plantation to become an MP, and an advocate for the engineering and construction industry. 

Coming in second is In This Together: Singapore’s Covid-19 Story, a collection of accounts of how people here came together to fight the virus in the first two years of the pandemic. It is published by Straits Times Press.

The book, written by executive editor Sumiko Tan and journalists of The Straits Times, included interviews with more than 300 people, including President Halimah Yacob, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, business owners and survivors of the disease.

In This Together: Singapore’s Covid-19 Story came in second in the English (adult) category. ST PHOTO: STEPHANIE YEOW

Two books published by Focus Publishing also bagged the first and second prizes in the Chinese books category. The Chinese version of Plantation To Parliament: My Story So Far took the top spot, while a book by author Huang Mingde, where he recounts what he learnt from taking care of his dementia-stricken mother, came in second.

The awards were given out on the second day of Popular bookstore’s annual BookFest@Singapore, held at the Suntec Singapore Convention and Exhibition Centre. The event is open to the public until Dec 18.

Ms Raneetha Rajaratnam, director of programmes and services for the archives and libraries group at National Library Board, who was guest of honour at the awards, said: “We learn from the life experiences of successful personalities such as Fandi Ahmad and Lee Bee Wah, delve into the minds of esteemed politicians, dig deeper into historical stories of Singapore and continue to solve mysteries with Sherlock Sam. 

“These titles also allow us to glean insights into other people’s experiences, their struggles and achievements, and encourage us to explore, discover and, most importantly, cultivate empathy.”

Fandi: Honour & Sacrifice, a biography written by the former football striker with author Durga Poonambalam, was one of the shortlisted candidates in the English (adult) category.

Sherlock Sam And The Digital Detectives On Instanoodlegram, part of the local children’s book series Sherlock Sam, won the third prize in the English (children) category. It was written by A. J. Low – the husband-and-wife writing team of Mr Adan Jimenez and Ms Felicia Low-Jimenez.

The Popular awards, now in the 11th year, aim to recognise and reward local authors and writing. Winners were chosen based on public voting done between Aug 26 and Oct 31, with a total of 30 shortlisted candidates in three categories.

Mr Tin It Phong, finance director of Popular Holdings, said: “This year’s nominated titles are diverse in topics across all age groups, ranging from biographies of local figures to adventure-filled children’s books and more.

“It is worth noting and celebrating that the works our local writers are creating have become increasingly varied and intriguing.”

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