Singapore — The 2021 Epigram Books Fiction Prize was given out in a virtual ceremony live-streamed on Facebook and YouTube on Saturday evening (Jan 21).
The prize was started in 2015. It is given to writers with previously unpublished novel-length manuscripts. The prize was initially open only to Singapore writers. In 2020, the prize was opened to South-East Asian writers and was won by Malaysian author Joshua Kam.
The virtual sixth award ceremony and dinner began with an opening address by Mr Edmund Wee, publisher and founder of Epigram Books.
Mr Wee briefed the audience about the 2020 journey of Epigram Books, the titles it published and the changes on its business front. He added that, because of the pandemic and since there was no dinner this time, the prize money had been increased to help more authors.
There were six finalists vying for the prize, from different backgrounds and different walks of life.
They were picked from entries sent in from all over the region, including Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Myanmar.
The finalists were:
Wesley Leon Aroozoo for The Punkhawala And The Prostitute.
Meihan Boey for The Formidable Miss Cassidy.
Pallavi Gopinath Aney for Kopi, Puffs And Dreams.
Sebastian Sim for Sally Bong!
Daryl Qilin Yam for Lovelier, Lonelier.
H.Y. Yeang for Blue Sky Mansion.
There was a tie and there were two winners: The Formidable Miss Cassidy by Meihan Boey and Sally Bong! by Sebastian Sim. The winners received prize money of S$15,000 each. The other finalists will each get S$5,000.
The judges’ panel consisted of movie producer Wahyuni Hadi, Professor Sim Wai Chew of the Nanyang Technological University, best-selling author Monica Lim, Penang book-seller Gareth Richards and Mr Wee.
Simran Hisaria is an overseas intern at Independent SG. /TISG
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