Established in 2015, the Epigram Books Fiction Prize promotes contemporary Singapore creative writing and rewards excellence in Singapore literature. The annual prize is Singapore’s richest literary award, offering S$25,000 to the winner and S$5,000 to three shortlisted finalists.
The Prize is open to Singaporeans, permanent residents or Singapore-born authors with full-length, original and unpublished novel-length manuscripts written in the English language.
The 2016 Winner
An early subject of Nuraliah Norasid’s writing was an earthworm princess. Growing up in a less privileged family, writing for her was a source of escapism. Since then, this research associate has graduated from spinning stories about star-crossed lovers to fearsome creatures in this first novel. An early draft was written in 2006, but ten years later, Nuraliah found herself returning to it with older, wiser eyes. It evolved into The Gatekeeper, an allegorical tale ostensibly about two medusa sisters, but looks to shed light on discrimination against marginalised communities in Singapore.
For Nuraliah, a champion of the fantasy genre, this mythological creature is more than just an emblem of terror. “The Medusa is like a very painful or disdainful truth—truth like poverty in clean, first-class Singapore,” she explains. “She is like the Malay girl who was bullied out of her job at the froyo outlet because she can’t speak Mandarin in multiracial, multicultural Singapore.”
She also developed the constructed language of Tuyunri for the novel. Find out more in her interview with Kevin Martens Wong in Unravel: The Accessible Linguistics Magazine.
A young gorgon named Ria petrifies an entire village of innocents with her gaze. Together with her sister, she flees for the underground city of Nelroote, where Manticura’s quasi-fantastical sapient races—Scereans, Tuyuns, Feleenese, Cayanese—live on the margins. There, she takes up her role as gatekeeper, protecting the city from threats human or otherwise.
Decades later, Manticura has become a modern urban city, and a man named Eedric is bored with the monotony of his privileged life. He stumbles upon the entrance to Nelroote and encounters Ria, who has spent nearly sixty years in solitude. As their friendship begins to blossom, external whispers of the medusa sisters threaten to spark a chain of events that will throw Nelroote and its inhabitants into imminent danger.
The 2016 Finalists
News and Updates
The Epigram Books Fiction Prize is pleased to announce the judging panel for this year’s competition. Three new names will be joining the panel for this year’s prize: Barbara Ryan, Associate Professor at the National University of Singapore, Singapore Literature Prize-winning author and poet Cyril Wong, and Pamela Ho, editor for The A List Singapore.
The longlist is just as diverse in genre as it is commendable in quality. We will no doubt have a tough time picking out the shortlist. Edmund Wee, Publisher & CEO of Epigram Books [Link to original article]
Singaporean publisher increases prize money, offers prizes to all shortlisted manuscripts this year Singapore’s richest literary prize is set to get richer, as local publisher Epigram Books raises the stakes for its annual Epigram Books Fiction Prize to $40,000 this year. Now running in its second year, the 2016 prize will see three of its
First of last year’s shortlisted novels also released SINGAPORE, 24 March 2016—The Epigram Books Fiction Prize is pleased to announce the judging panel for this year’s competition, in conjunction with the release of Sebastian Sim’s Let’s Give It Up for Gimme Lao!, one of last year’s finalists. Returning to judge this year’s prize are Professor