Category Archives: Media Coverage

[The Straits Times] Former croupier and prison officer turned award-winning author

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Sebastian Sim, winner of Singapore’s richest literary prize for his upcoming novel The Riot Act, says shift work gives him time to write

Author Sebastian Sim has been a bartender, a croupier and a prison officer. He has cut cards for high rollers, reprimanded gangsters and watched customers spill drinks and sob stories across the bar.

To many, the 51-year-old may seem like a drifter. But this itinerant job-hopping is tied to a singular purpose conceived when he was a 17-year-old junior college student – to be a writer.

“I choose to do shift work so I can save the best hours of the day for writing,” says Sim, who is now an office executive. “I did not want to be sucked into the rat race. Work for me is just income and an avenue to collect life experiences.”

[Read the original article by Olivia Ho]

[The A List] Sebastian Sim wins Epigram Books Fiction Prize 2017

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Second time lucky! Sebastian Sim, author of Let’s Give It Up for Gimme Lao!, was a finalist for the 2015 Epigram Books Fiction Prize (EBFP) but fell short of winning the top prize. It was a different story at the award ceremony and gala dinner held at the Conrad Centennial Singapore on 23 November. Sim walked away as the winner of EBFP 2017, with a cash prize of S$25,000 and a publishing contract for his 2017 submission, The Riot Act.

[Read the original article by Pamela Ho]

[The Straits Times] Second time lucky for winner of fiction book prize

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It is second time lucky for author Sebastian Sim, who walked away with $25,000 after winning the third Epigram Books Fiction Prize yesterday.

The office executive, 51, won Singapore’s richest literary prize with his manuscript The Riot Act.

He was a finalist for the inaugural prize in 2015 for comic novel Let’s Give It Up For Gimme Lao!, but lost to O Thiam Chin’s Now That It’s Over.

He said: “I practised being disappointed two years ago, so this year, I decided to lower my expectations. This has been a big surprise and I can’t stop smiling.”

[Read the original article by Olivia Ho]

Epigram Books Fiction Prize 2017 shortlist announced

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SINGAPORE – Two journalists have made the shortlist for the Epigram Books Fiction Prize 2017, Singapore’s richest literary prize.

Straits Times arts correspondent Akshita Nanda and assistant news editor at The New Paper Andre Yeo will be vying for the third edition of the $25,000 prize, Singapore’s only one for unpublished English-language novels.

They will be up against office executive Sebastian Sim, who is on the shortlist for a second time, and writer Judith Huang.

The four novels in the running for the prize include a speculative novel set in a futuristic Singapore, in which a 13-year-old girl accidentally creates a new world using the Reality Machine in her mother’s Biopolis laboratory, forcing her to go on the run from the government.

Another follows two women with the same name living 70 years apart, one an aspiring engineer in 1944 India, the other a scientist who emigrates from India to Singapore in 2015 to escape her matchmaking family and a secret past.

The last two draw on current affairs and news headlines: in one, six suicide bombers slip into Singapore to carry out an attack on National Day in 2020, while the other takes a fresh look at the 2013 Little India riot.

[Read the original article by Olivia Ho here]



Sponsorship secured for Epigram Books Fiction Prize, 10 on longlist

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The longlist features two familiar names: office executive Sebastian Sim, 51, who was shortlisted in 2015 for comic novel Let’s Give It Up For Gimme Lao! and architect Tham Cheng-E, 38, shortlisted last year for speculative thriller Surrogate Protocol.

But most of the longlisted authors – chosen from 47 submissions – are newcomers to fiction, the youngest being 19-year-old national serviceman Teo Xue Shen.

Some are known for their writing in other fields, such as journalists Akshita Nanda, 38, who is an arts correspondent at The Straits Times; and The New Paper assistant news editor Andre Yeo, 45.

Also in the running is poet Judith Huang, 31, a three-time winner of Britain’s Foyle Young Poet Of The Year award for poets under 18.

Other fresh faces taking a crack at the prize include copywriter Cheryl Chen, 35; Yale-National University of Singapore (NUS) College lecturer Carissa Foo, 30; private tutor Khor Kuan Liang, 28; and economics adviser Lim Su-Min, 29.

[Read the original article by Olivia Ho]

Singapore Writers on Writing About Race

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SINGAPORE – About 100 people packed the room at the Pod at National Library on Thursday night to talk about racial stereotypes and the portrayal of races in Singapore.

Organised and hosted by Epigram Books – whose publisher is also behind the children’s series Understanding Singaporeans: Why Do We Ask These Questions – the discussion covered a wide range of topics, including whether books about racial issues should be targeted at children, and what it means to write about race in Singapore.

Kalasegaran said: “You might disagree with (such books), but they have also opened up the discourse, and that allows other people to contribute.”

That said, due to the sensitive and somewhat emotional nature of the topic, Tiang said that “this is something that needs to be approached with care, particularly when one is from the majority race”.

He added: “My personal (view) is to to listen, to hear from as many other people as possible and try and understand what’s happening from these other points of view… While I’m not saying people from the majority should be silent, I think it’s more important to elevate the minority and to hear from these groups of people.”

[Read the original article by Reena Devi here]