Announcing the 2017 Epigram Books Fiction Prize longlist

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SINGAPORE, 22 SEPTEMBER 2017—Epigram Books is pleased to announce the longlist for its 2017 Fiction Prize.

The 10 writers were chosen from 47 submissions. They are, in alphabetical order:

Cheryl Chen, 35, is a copywriter who owns an agency in Singapore called One Zeitgeist. She has a background in Psychology. She enjoys listening to and sharing people’s stories with the world. Her favourite authors are Terry Pratchett and Stephen King.

Carissa Foo, 30, is a lecturer in writing and literature at Yale-NUS College. She received her PhD in English Studies from Durham University (UK), where she worked on the phenomenology of place in modernist women’s writing. She also works with a non-profit to teach English to migrant workers.

Judith Huang, 31, is a Singaporean writer, editor and translator. A three-time winner of the UK Poetry Society’s Foyle Young Poet of the Year award, she has been published in Prairie Schooner, Asia Literary Review, QLRS, Lontar, Stylus and Asymptote. She holds an AB from Harvard University, and her first poetry collection is forthcoming from Ethos Books in 2018.

Khor Kuan Liang, 28, is a private tutor in English and General Paper enrichment classes. He has been published in Reader’s Digest Asia and on Inconvenient Questions, a socio-political site about issues in Singapore and the region. He is an English Literature graduate of the National University of Singapore.

Lim Su-Min, 29, is an adviser at the Australian Energy Market Commission in Sydney and is about to start her own consultancy, Embiggen Econommics. Born in Singapore, she immigrated to Australia at one years old. She studied economics at the University of New South Wales.

Akshita Nanda, 38, writes about the arts for The Straits Times, where she has worked since 2007. She worked in genetic engineering before becoming an editor in 2002. She studied molecular biology at the National University of Singapore. She was born in Pune, India, and moved to Singapore in 1995.

Sebastian Sim, 51, has been a bartender in a pub, a prison officer in a maximum security prison and a croupier in a casino. He is currently an office executive. He has published several books in Chinese and his first English novel, Let’s Give It Up for Gimme Lao! was shortlisted for the 2015 Epigram Books Fiction Prize. It was published in 2016.

Teo Xue Shen, 19, graduated from junior college in 2016 and is in his first year of National Service. He is an active member of the Singapore Scouts Association and enjoys many outdoor activities, such as fishing and trekking.

Tham Cheng-E, 38, is an architect in Singapore. He is the author of Surrogate Protocol, which was a shortlisted for the 2016 Epigram Books Fiction Prize. He blogs regularly about parenting and Down syndrome, and writes for the online magazine Special Seeds. He was educated at the National University of Singapore and the University College London.

Andre Yeo, 45, is an assistant editor at The New Paper, where he works with reporters and edits commentaries. He has been a journalist for 21 years. In 2014, he self-published his first book, Home: 50 50-word Stories to Celebrate Singapore’s 50th Birthday.

“We are encouraged by the number of high quality entries despite the third running of the prize. Picking the shortlist will not be easy,” said Edmund Wee, Publisher and CEO of Epigram Books, and one of the judges.

Mr Wan Kwong Weng, Mapletree Investments’ Head of Group Corporate Services said, “We are very happy to be a key sponsor for the Epigram Books Fiction Prize 2017 for the second year, not only because Epigram is our tenant, but it has grown from strength to strength. As Singapore becomes more mature as a society, local literature will add to the spice of life and hopefully the tapestry of our society.”

The other major corporate sponsor is the Lee Foundation.

The shortlist is expected next month and the winner will be announced at an award ceremony and gala dinner to be held at Conrad Centennial Singapore on November 23, 2017.

Apart from Wee, the other judges for this year’s prize are Cyril Wong, Singapore Literature Prize-winning poet; Professor Barbara Ryan, Associate Professor at the National University of Singapore; and Pamela Ho, editor of The A List, a monthly arts and culture magazine published by the National Arts Council.

The Epigram Books Fiction Prize, with its award of $25,000 to the winner and $5,000 to each of the 3 finalists, is open to all Singapore citizens, permanent residents and Singapore-born authors.