Submit your manuscripts by Thursday, 8 September 2016, 8pm

In April 2015, Epigram Books announced the launch of the inaugural Epigram Books Fiction Prize. With a prize of $20,000, it is the richest award of its kind in Singapore. Epigram Books was incredibly heartened by the overwhelming response of 69 submissions from writers of all ages and walks of life. After a long internal deliberation, four shortlisted novels were chosen for the consideration of the judging panel (consisting of lawyer and bestselling author Adrian Tan, leading actress Janice Koh, NUS professor Philip Holden and chaired by Epigram Books Publisher and CEO Edmund Wee).

At a gala dinner at Pan Pacific Hotel, O Thiam Chin was announced as the winner with his debut novel, Now That It’s Over (formerly titled The Infinite Sea).

“We want to reward excellence in contemporary Singapore creative writing and to encourage the readership of high-quality Singapore literature by publishing the winning and shortlisted entries,” said Edmund Wee. The release of this book is therefore in conjunction with its three contenders: Death of a Perm Sec by Wong Souk Yee, Sugarbread by Balli Kaur and Let’s Give It Up for Gimme Lao! by Sebastian Sim.

The 2016 Judges

  • Edmund Wee

    Publisher & CEO
    Epigram Books

    A psychologist turned journalist turned design agency founder, Edmund Wee now manages Epigram Books, a Singaporean publisher that champions local literature and writers. He was included in the Straits Times Life! Power List four times since 2011. He launched the Epigram Books Fiction Prize in 2015 in a bid to find the next big Singaporean novel.

  • Prof. Philip Holden

    Professor of English
    National University of Singapore

    Philip Holden has published widely on Singapore and Southeast Asian literatures, is the co-author of The Routledge Concise History of Southeast Asian Writing in English, and one of the editors of Writing Singapore. He also served as the Vice President of Singapore Heritage Society, been active as a newspaper columnist and a book reviewer.

  • Haresh Sharma

    Resident Playwright
    The Necessary Stage

    Haresh Sharma has written more than 100 plays which have been staged in over 20 cities. He has 10 publications of his plays, including Model Citizen and Those Who Can't, Teach, both published by Epigram Books. He was conferred the Southeast Asian Writers (or S.E.A. Write) Award (Singapore) in 2014, and Singapore’s Cultural Medallion in 2015.

  • Constance Singam

    Former President
    AWARE Singapore

    Constance Singam is an author and civil society activist with a history in journalism and teaching. She has also co-founded civil society groups and contributed to and co-edited several books. Her works include A History of the TWC: Building Social Space in Singapore and her memoir Where I Was: A Memoir From the Margins.

Rules & Regulations

  1. Eligibility
    1. The Epigram Books Fiction Prize 2016 (EBFP 2016) is open to all Singapore citizens, Permanent Residents of Singapore and Singapore-born authors, regardless of age.
    2. Posthumous works are not eligible.
  2. Subject and theme
    1. Entries may be on any subject or theme.
  3. Language
    1. Works submitted must be written in English.
  4. Originality
    1. Each entry must be an original work written wholly by the author(s).
    2. Submitted work may be by more than one (1) author. There is no limit on the number of authors. Each work should be accompanied by one (1) entry form, regardless of the number of authors.
    3. Only unpublished work will be accepted. The work must not be contracted to any publisher.
  1. Number of Entries
    1. Author(s) may submit more than one work for this competition provided that the works are different and not variations of the same work. Each work needs to be submitted separately.
  2. Closing Date
    1. The closing date for this competition is 8 September 2016.
  3. Rights of refusal
    1. Epigram Books retains a right of first and last refusal to all entries, regardless of whether the author wins the prize.
    2. Epigram Books shall have six (6) months from the date of the winning announcement to inform all authors if it wishes to publish their work(s).
    3. If within thirty (30) days thereafter, the parties are unable to agree on such terms, Epigram Books will return all rights back to the author.
  4. The Award
    1. The Epigram Books Fiction Prize carries an award of S$25,000 for the winner, and $5,000 for three shortlisted finalists.
    2. The prize awards constitute the authors’ advances against royalties.
  1. Announcement of winner(s)
    1. The prize will be awarded on 24 November 2016. Winner(s) will be notified closer to the date of the announcement and will be invited to attend. If the winner(s) cannot attend this event for any reason, they must nominate a representative to accept the prize on their behalf.
  2. Responsibilities
    1. Prize winner(s) will be invited to conduct public talks, workshops and/or other events.
    2. Prize winner(s) will be required to speak to the media and attend media engagements, and support Epigram Books in all EBFP 2016-related marketing and publicity.

Join Now!

Take part in Singapore's richest literary prize today! You may well be the author of the next great Singaporean novel.

Submission criteria

  1. The work
  1. The submission must be a full-length and original novel.
  2. There is no upper word limit. The submission should have at least 40,000 words.
  • The manuscript
  1. All manuscripts must be submitted bound (comb binding).
    All manuscripts should be printed double-sided.
  2. Submit the manuscript copies with a cover page (one cover page with each hard copy). The cover page should include: working title, synopsis (between 50 – 100 words) and word count. The manuscript copies should not include author’s name.
  3. All manuscripts should be prepared with 1-inch margins on all sides, double lined-spacing, 12-point Times New Roman font and page numbers. Set the page size to A4. Do not justify text, instead align text to the left using the ‘align left’ button in Microsoft Word.
  4. Spelling should follow Collins Dictionary (accessible online at no cost via Please use British spelling.
  5. Do not use the serial comma.
  6. Other matters of style are generally determined according to the latest edition of The Chicago Manual of Style. Any specific questions of style should be posed to Epigram Books at
  1. Submission details
  1. The entrant must fill out an online form and provide four (4) hard copies for each work with each submission. Submit the hard copies of the manuscript with a signed print out of the entry form and photocopy of your NRIC/passport by registered post or in person to:

The Epigram Books Fiction Prize 2016
Epigram Books
Block 1008 Toa Payoh North #03-08
Singapore 318996

  1. We will not entertain other forms of submission.
  2. The organisers and judges shall not be held responsible for manuscripts or collaterals that have been lost or damaged in transit.
  3. Manuscripts and collaterals submitted for this competition will be retained by Epigram Books. Please keep the original for your own reference.
  4. Works can be submitted either by the author(s) or a chosen representative.
  5. Works should adhere to the style and formatting guidelines provided below.
  6. Epigram Books shall acknowledge each entry by email.

Notes on Formatting and Punctuation

  • In general, all formatting should appear in the document as it is meant to appear in the final book. Italics are to be indicated with italics, not with underlining; spaces and spacing should be maintained in exactly the form meant to be seen in print.
  • Do not insert extra lines between paragraphs, except when intended as a section break or matter of style. Paragraph breaks are to be indicated using a simple ‘return’ and then indent (by typing the ‘tab’ key once).
  • Single spaces (not double) after full stops and other punctuation.
  • Most punctuation, and all full stops and commas, are to be placed outside quotation marks, as in British usage. The exception is in dialogue.
  • Ellipses are to be indicated using the automatically formatted, single-character ellipsis provided by Microsoft Word (‘…’), with no spaces on either side. On a Mac, this can be formatted by pressing the ‘option’ button followed by a semicolon, or formatted automatically in Word by typing three full stops without spaces. Do not use four-point ellipses.
  • Dashes are to be formatted as em dashes (‘—’) only, not en dashes (‘–’), with no spaces on either side. The proper em dash character is available either through the ‘Insert/Symbol’ feature in Microsoft Word, or via auto-formatting (i.e., two hyphens ‘–’ placed without spaces between two letters or words should automatically be replaced by an em dash, if your settings are correct).
  • En dashes, not hyphens, are to be used to indicate a date range, as in ‘1914–1918’, with no spaces on either side (i.e., two hyphens ‘–’ placed with spaces between two letters or words should automatically be replaced by an en dash, if your settings are correct).