Saturday, November 15, 2014

The Singapore Literature Prize

So last week I was invited to the Singapore Literature Prize Award ceremony at the Regent Hotel. It was a formal affair so one was expected to dress up and so I did, one of the very rare times I actually do. 

I was seated at table along with my fellow book council ex-co member Juat and Ian Yap from the NLB. Dinner was delicious but it did take a while for the servers to get to us and they forgot the bread basket!

Now the Singapore Literature Prize is one award that I will never win because they don't have a children's section, so I had to 'steal' my friend Josephine Chia's Award for a photo. Maybe some of her award-winning magic will rub off on me and I'll eventually win an award for something or other.

Congratulations to Josephine who won for her book Kampung Spirit Gotong Royong: Life in Potong Pasir.

Me and my Singapore Literature Prize

OK, it's actually Josephine's Prize.

I brought my SLR camera with the intention of taking loads of photos but I accidentally hit manual on my lens and ended up taking loads of blurred photos. I'm a genius, what can I say.

My publisher, Edmund, Mr Epigram himself was delighted as his publication 'Ministry of Moral Panic' by Amanda Lee Koe snagged the prize for best fiction. Whenever his books win anything, it's the best time to approach him for a contract renewal  or a book proposal.

A few days after the awards ceremony, Kenneth facillitated a panel discussion with some of the winners including Yong Shu Hoong (Poetry), Josephine Chia (Non-fiction), Chow Teck Seng (Chinese Poetry) and Ms Krishnamurthi Mathangi (Commendation Tamil Poetry).

The tricky thing about panel discussions is that you'll get a few awkward questions from audience members, but the panelists handled themselves good humour, wit and aplomb.

Still on the topic of books, Kenneth, Emma and I ended our week at the Singapore Writers Festival by attending a special reception for Authors Paul Theroux, Jonathan Lethem and Barry Lopez hosted by US Ambassador Kirk Wagar and Mrs Crystal Wagar at their residence. Thank you, Ambassador and Mrs Wagar, it was an honour and thrill to have been invited.

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