Call for Submissions

Closing Date: Tuesday, 1 August 2017

We’re looking for the next Great Singaporean Novel; the 2017 Epigram Books Fiction Prize is now accepting submissions.

Prize winner will receive S$25,000 and a publishing contract
Three finalists will each receive S$5,000 and a publishing contract
Longlisted entries also stand a chance to be published

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The Prize is open to Singaporeans, permanent residents or Singapore-born authors with full-length, original and unpublished novel-length manuscripts written in the English language.

Introducing the EBFP 2017 Judging Panel

The 2016 Winner

Nuraliah Norasid

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.

The Gatekeeper

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