Judging Panel Selected for 2020 Epigram Books Fiction Prize

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Award-winning film-maker Tan Pin Pin and bestselling author Balli Kaur Jaswal among the names picked

SINGAPORE — The judging panel for the 2020 Epigram Books Fiction Prize (EBFP) has been selected. While previous editions only featured four judges, there will now be five judges in the panel for the next edition.

They are bestselling author Balli Kaur Jaswal; Mekong Review editor Minh Bui Jones; Director of the Division of Humanities at Yale-NUS College, Professor Rajeev Patke (who reprises his role from the 2018 edition); award-winning film-maker Tan Pin Pin, and publisher Edmund Wee.

The Epigram Books Fiction Prize, which was previously a Singapore-only prize, is still open to submissions from ASEAN writers. It will be held in January 2020, with a prize pot of SGD25,000 to the winner, and SGD5,000 to three finalists.
The closing date is Aug 1, 2019.

“I’m excited about the Epigram Books Fiction Prize’s wider regional reach this year,” said Balli Kaur Jaswal, whose novel, Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows, shot her to international acclaim. “There’s no single narrative about Southeast Asia, and I’m confident that we will see a range of powerful stories from this crop of entries,” added Balli, whose second novel, Sugarbread, was a finalist for the 2016 EBFP and was shortlisted for the 2018 Singapore Literature Prize.

Minh Bui Jones, the founding editor of Mekong Review, which covers literature, politics and culture in Southeast Asia, said: “One of the most effective ways of unearthing new works and talents in literature is through literary prizes. The Epigram Books Fiction Prize does that for Southeast Asia and I’m honoured to be a part of it.”

“We are happy and honoured that Balli, Minh, Professor Rajeev and Tan Pin Pin have agreed to support the Prize and give their time to be a part of this,” said Edmund. “We are excited about this new edition and we are eager to see what writers from the region have to offer.”