Press Coverage

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August 2019
India SE

Feature: Pico Iyer Launches His Latest Book, First Writer in Residence of Raffles Hotel
Well-known travel writer Pico Iyer’s latest book – This Could Be Home: Raffles Hotel and the City of Tomorrow was launched in Singapore today. It is his inaugural work as the first Writer in Residence of the Raffles Hotel … read full story

March 2019
The Weekender

Review: Love, Lies and Indomee
If you are looking for a light read that is also smart, Love, Lies And Indomee by Nuril Basri is right up your alley. Set in Indonesia, the novel tackles the modern struggle to find love, marriage and gender roles from the perspective of a witty young woman named Ratu ... read full

March 2019
Comic Book and Movie Reviews
Preview: The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye
The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye is a 324-page softback graphic novel which tells the tale of a young Asian artist who embarks on a creative journey during a turbulent time in Singapore’s history … read full story

Feb 2019
LocalBooks.sg blog
Soundtrack for a book: Love, Lies and Indomee by Nuril Basri
I didn't have any agenda when I first started writing Love, Lies and Indomee, or Enak, as it was called in Indonesia. I just thought it was a good story subject to be written about. All I knew was that I wanted to write about a fat girl as the main character. But not a miserable one … read full story

Feb 2019
LocalBooks.sg blog
The Minorities vs Joseph Campbell
I wrote The Minorities for many reasons. It's impossible for me to unpack all the emotional and philosophical clay I've used to mould my sophomore novel in one article. But I'll touch on how The Minorities takes a dump (yes, a dump!) on the ideas of one of the 20th century's foremost academic minds in the field of literature and mythology … read full story

*****

Feb 2019
Mackerel

Review: Love, Lies and Indomee

We’ve all crossed paths with love before; we hear stories of failed relationships, infidelity, perhaps forgiveness. These stories are often weighed down by familial expectation and pressure from friends. In Nusri Basri’s Love, Lies and Indomee, you’ll find yourself caught up in the struggles of finding love in the 21st century. I was immediately captivated by the title, and even more so by the narrative: 27-year-old Ratu turns to online dating to pacify her mother’s nagging to get married. She meets the handsome but arrogant Hans, and in one of many twists in the story, he ends up being the chauffeur of Ratu’s boss … read full story

*****

Feb 2019
Publishing Perspectives

London Book Fair Names Singapore’s Jeremy Tiang ‘Literary Translator of the Fair’

Next month, Jeremy Tiang will be exploring Olympia London, as the London Book Fair‘s first-designated “Literary Translator of the Fair.” In her statement on the announcement today (February 5) of Tiang’s designation, fair director Jacks Thomas says, “We are thrilled to have Jeremy Tiang as our first ever Literary Translator this year. As well as being an award-winning translator, Jeremy is an accomplished author and playwright … read full story

*****

Feb 2019
LocalBooks.sg blog

Soundtrack for a book: The Minorities by Suffian Hakim

The playlist I have created follows Joseph Campbell's Monomyth structure: the first 10  songs provide the soundscape of The Known, the next 10 capture the discord of The Unknown, and the final 10 taper into the story's nameless Narrator and his failure to become master of both worlds, despite having met all the beats of the Monomyth arc. I am not going to write about all 30 songs (explaining Marilyn Manson's "President Dead", for example, might be a spoiler) but I will pick 10 of them which were most significant to the soul of The Minorities. … read full story

*****

Feb 2019
Business World

Singaporean graphic novel gets chance to become animated film

An animated adaptation of Sonny Liew’s 2015 Singaporean graphic novel about a fictional comic book artist living in post-war Singapore, won in the first Animation Du Monde workshop in Asia which allows the adaptation to be brought to the Annecy International Animation Film Market (MIFA) to pitch the concept to international co-producers and investors. “We decided to choose the project that will go to Annecy will be specifically relevant. We enjoyed discovering the specific historical context through an artistic vision ... read full story

*****

Feb 2019
The Straits Times

Modern Love: What love is to readers

How do I love thee? It may be hard to count all the ways, but The Sunday Times asked readers to try saying it within 200 words ahead of Valentine's Day. We received more than 150 love stories that ran the gamut of human emotion – from the comic to the tragic, from the supernatural to the mundane, from romantic love to the love between parents and children, and even what it's like to spend Valentine's Day without any love at all. Here are 15 of our favourites … read full story
(featuring Nuraliah Norasid and Cyril Wong

*****

Dec 2018
Mackerel Macbooks

Review: The Minorities

I must confess that in my old age, I have become unabashed about leaving books unfinished if they don't hold my attention. Would I love the satisfaction of turning the last page over and facing the back cover? YES. Do I have time to spend ploughing through books that make me consider doing all the actual work I have yet to do? I wish I did, but unfortunately, no. So I’m really glad to say that Suffian Hakim’s The Minorities is one of those books that hits a kind of sweet spot for me … read full story

*****

Nov 2018
Coconuts

Hunting for Ghosts, Metaphors and Meaning

Should I really feel this comfortable strolling through a cemetery this late at night? It’s the thought that keeps recurring as I walk close (but not too close) to the tombstones, some nearly 70 years old, their carved inscriptions in Jawi and Malay indecipherable in the dark. In one of the most light-polluted places on Earth, it’s weirdly enjoyable to be engulfed in darkness, nary a street lamp in sight — nary a soul for that matter, or at least ones we can see. Strolling next to me is Suffian Hakim, the 31-year-old author, and humorist  … read full story

*****

Sep 2018
The Straits Times

What it means to be a woman and an immigrant

From luscious mangoes to coffee buns to simmering seviyaan (a sweet noodle dessert), journalist Akshita Nanda's debut novel is stuffed with food. "Food is what unites us and what divides us," says the 39-year-old arts correspondent with The Straits Times. "I realised if I wanted people to immediately understand the heart of the story, I had to show them something they could relate to … read full story

*****

Sep 2018
The New Paper

Author turned down scholarship to be better writer

When he was 17, Mr Sebastian Sim had his life planned out for him. He was studying at Hwa Chong Junior College and was on the Public Service Commission scholarship. A year before his A levels, he gave up his scholarship. Mr Sim turned down his place at the National University of Singapore's Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences after his National Service to take on several jobs and be an author … read full story

*****

Sep 2018
The Straits Times

Graphic novelist Sonny Liew says he and group that met Mahathir 'too wide-eyed and naive

Graphic novelist Sonny Liew said he and the rest of the group who recently met Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad were "much too wide-eyed and naive" in doing so. In a response to questions from Today, Mr Liew wrote in a Facebook post on Monday (Sept 3) that the meeting, which took place in Kuala Lumpur last Thursday, "was a perfectly innocent if rare opportunity in our own minds". He added: "But in retrospect, we should have asked a lot more questions and been a lot more prepared for potential pitfalls … read full story

*****

Aug 2018
The New Paper

Journalist writes about immigrant experience in debut novel

When Ms Akshita Nanda came to Singapore from India 23 years ago as a 16-year-old student, she had no family or friends here. A month later, she was poring over books in the libraries, which made her feel at home, especially when she made friends with other readers. One of the books that made an impression was Adrian Tan's The Teenage Textbook, about teen angst … read full story

*****

Aug 2018
The New Paper

Jeremy Tiang wins Singapore Literature Prize in English fiction

Full-time writer and translator Jeremy Tiang has won the Singapore Literature Prize in the English fiction category for his debut novel, a book about leftist movements and political detentions in Singapore and Malaysia. Tiang's novel State of Emergency emerged the winner out of a shortlist that also included The Gatekeeper by Nuraliah Norasid, Sugarbread by Balli Kaur Jaswal, Death Of A Perm Sec by Wong Souk Yee and Jennani Durai's short story collection, Regrettable Things That Happened Yesterday … read full story

*****

June 2018
The Straits Times

Epigram Books sweeps English fiction category in Singapore Lit Prize

First-time nominations dominated the shortlist of the Singapore Literature Prize, which will involve the public for the first time in the biennial award's history. It was also the first time a publisher swept an entire category, with Epigram Books getting five nominations for English fiction. The shortlist was revealed yesterday by the Singapore Book Council, which organises the awards, the oldest ongoing multilingual literary prize in Singapore … read full story

*****

April 2018
The Straits Times

Sonny Liew's The Art Of Charlie Chan Hock Chye wins more foreign prizes

Singaporean cartoonist Sonny Liew's graphic novel The Art Of Charlie Chan Hock Chye continues its winning streak abroad in Europe. Over the weekend, its Italian edition was awarded the Premio Speciale della Giuria (Special Jury Prize) at Romics, a comics, animation and gaming convention held semiannually in Rome with an estimated attendance of 200,000. On Friday (April 13), it won the Best Work by a Foreign Author or Author published in Spain at the International Comic Fair of Barcelona … read full story

*****

April 2018
The Straits Times

European accolades for Charlie Chan comic

Singaporean graphic novelist Sonny Liew's The Art Of Charlie Chan Hock Chye continues its winning streak abroad in Europe. Over the weekend, its Italian edition was awarded the Premio Speciale della Giuria (Special Jury Prize) at Romics, a comics, animation and gaming convention held semi-annually in Rome with an estimated attendance of 200,000 … read full story

*****

April 2018
The Times Literary Supplement

Exquisite, lush and menacing: forces of control in new novels from Singapore

"DISNEYLAND with the death penalty" is how William Gibson memorably described Singapore in 1993. With its strict laws – including caning as a punishment – its fondness for obedience and dislike of chewing gum, the city state is generally more noted for its eccentric conservatism, wealth and supreme efficiency than for its literary arts … read full story

***** 

March 2018
Cha: An Asian Literary Journal

Burying the spoils of war 

Warran Kalasegaran’s debut novel, Lieutenant Kurosawa’s Errand Boy, grapples with heavy narrative ambitions and historical themes. Set amidst the turmoil of war-torn Singapore, the novel features two interlocking storylines. The first takes place during the city’s chaotic Japanese Occupation, while the second unfolds within the uncertainty of post-war Singapore. According to Kalasegaran, the novel was written while he was “studying at the Graduate School of Public Policy at the University of Tokyo.” Previously, he had earned a bachelor’s degree in politics … read full story

*****

March 2018
Bakchormeeboy

A childhood dream come true: a conversation with writer Akshita Nanda

“I remember when I first came to Singapore in 1995 on a scholarship, my parents told me to eat the food in this country,” Akshita Nanda comments offhand, as we wait for our dinner to arrive at Kogane-Yama. “Food is how you really get to know a country and its culture, and the act of eating itself bonds.” Akshita is perhaps best known as an arts writer for The Straits Times. But when we caught up with her last week, her presence was not as Akshita the journalist, but Akshita, the friend, and soon to be first time novelist ... read full story

*****

Feb 2018
Los Angeles Review of Books: China Channel

I can only go by my gut

With seven translated novels under his belt, in addition to the short story collection It Never Rains on National Day, novelist, playwright, and translator Jeremy Tiang has been making a name for himself. Already making waves in Singapore when its funding was withdrawn by the National Arts Council, his debut novel, State of Emergency, provides a snapshot of a Singaporean family during the tumultuous decades that followed the second World War … read full story

*****

Jan 2018
Mackerel

K.L. Confidential

In Once We Were There, the oddly named Delonix Regia, daughter of a prominent lawyer and somewhat accidental journalist, leads us through parts of Kuala Lumpur rarely seen in mainstream media. Largely set against the backdrop of scandal-ridden Malaysian politics, the novel starts in 1998 as Delonix and her friends are protesting the arrest and beating of Anwar Ibrahim, government stalwart turned popular opposition leader. Delonix is the main viewpoint character of the novel, but we also see through the eyes of two other characters … read full story

*****

Jan 2018
The Spectator

The thrill of living dangerously inspires the latest first novels

IN State of Emergency, there’s a strong case for seeing common ground between its author, Jeremy Tiang, and its subject. (Like his protagonist Henry, Tiang is a youngish Oxford-educated Singaporean.) But it doesn’t really read like a personal project — and why should it? It’s well researched, informative and even-handed in its view of a chapter of Singapore’s history about which many of us know little ... read full story

*****

Dec 2017
Buro

My reading list: Sebastian Sim

The author who won the Epigram Books Fiction Prize 2017 for The Riot Act — a retelling of the Little India riot — tells us his choice reads for 2017 … read full story

*****

Dec 2017
The Straits Times

Art of venturing into new genres

Sonny Liew, 43, put Singapore on the comics world map in July by sweeping three awards at the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards for his graphic novel, The Art Of Charlie Chan Hock Chye. He became the first Singaporean to win an Eisner, considered to be the Oscars of the comics world … read full story

*****

Nov 2017
The Herald

Review: State of Emergency

Beyong some vague awareness that it used to “belong to us”, the history and politics of Singapore are a bit of a mystery in this country, so Jeremy Tiang’s new novel will most likely inform, enthral and upset its readers in roughly equal measures. The fact that the Singapore National Arts Council withdrew its grant after reading Tiang’s first draft indicates just how uncomfortable the city-state’s authorities were with his take on the events of the last half-century ... read more here

*****

Nov 2017
The Straits Times

Former croupier and prison officer turned award-winning author

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 ... read full story

*****

Nov 2017
The Straits Times

Second time lucky for comedy author Sebastian Sim at Epigram Books Fiction Prize

It is second time lucky for author Sebastian Sim, who walked away with $25,000 after winning the third Epigram Books Fiction Prize on Thursday (Nov 23). 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 Overread full story

*****

Nov 2017
Asian Books Blog

Contemporary voices: State of Emergency by Jeremy Tiang

Henry James apparently said, “It takes a lot of history to produce a little literature.”  One might find this proven true in Jeremy Tiang’s debut novel, State of Emergency, which cuts across swaths of history starting from the Batang Kali massacre in Malaya by Scots Guards in 1948, wending through key episodes of Communist suppression in Singapore, such as the Hock Lee bus riots (1955), Operation Coldstore (1967) and Operation Spectrum (1983), the detention of a Catholic priest and various church members in 1987, fetching up to current day Singapore (the MRT system that’s like “something out of science fiction” and Tiong Bahru likened to Hoxton, London) … read full story

*****

Oct 2017
Cha: An Asian Literary Journal

Recognising Racism: Nuraliah Norasid's The Gatekeeper

… There are concerns on Singaporean race relations that ought not be brushed aside or trivialised. When members of the social minority step out and speak of their social marginalisation, they speak from the position of people outside of the hegemonic race discourse in Singapore. They speak of things that we in the racial majority often have no access to, except by the testimony of the marginalised. So when they do speak, as Nuraliah Norasid does in The Gatekeeper, it is imperative that we listen … read full story

*****

Sep 2017
The Straits Times

Award-winning comic artist Sonny Liew to return state funding for his new work

Singaporean comic artist Sonny Liew will be returning a National Arts Council (NAC) grant for his upcoming work, in what he says is an effort to untangle himself from the compromises of state funding. Liew, 42, had been awarded a $19,000 Creation Grant from the NAC for his new book. He has received the first tranche of it, but is in the process of returning the sum, which he declined to disclose … read full story

*****

Sep 2017
The Straits Times

Lieutenant Kurosawa’s Errand Boy: a new take on the Japanese Occupation

While the story of the Japanese Occupation during World War II is the well-worn material of every Singaporean child's social studies textbook, one is hard put to find new ways of telling this age-old litany of horrors. Civil servant and first-time author Warran Kalasegaran manages to do so in this coming-of-age narrative of a young Tamil boy who is forced to work for the Kempeitai, the Japanese secret police, and, in doing so, must renounce his name and the culture of his birth … read full story

*****

Sep 2017
Singapore Unbound

Medusa in Singapore

The Gatekeeper by Nuraliah Norasid, winner of the 2016 Epigram Books Fiction Prize, tells the story of Ria, a medusa, beginning with her childhood days. As a girl, Ria lives with her beloved sister Barani on the outskirts of a human village, where they are largely regarded with suspicion and dislike. Barani begins a love affair with a human boy, but he jilts her and hands the sisters over to the authorities, who are keen on repossessing their land to make way for new developments. When policemen come to take the sisters away from their home, Ria turns them all to stone. Now wanted criminals, Ria and Barani flee … read full story

*****

Aug 2017
Asian Review of Books

Review: State of Emergency by Jeremy Tiang

Political myth is in no short supply in modern Singapore. In our most familiar histories, material progress and political quiescence are the natural products of visionary—if at times heavy-handed—leadership. Episodes of subversion and suppression are no longer swept entirely under the carpet, but seen as the inevitable growing pains of today’s glitteringly successful neoliberal city-state. Enter State of Emergency, a debut novel from the award-winning writer and translator Jeremy Tiang, which sets out to unsettle this half-remembered narrative … read full story

*****

June 2017
The Straits Times

Jeremy Tiang completed debut novel without full grant from NAC

After Jeremy Tiang sent out the first draft of his novel, the money stopped coming. The Singaporean author had been awarded a National Arts Council (NAC) grant of $12,000, of which he had already received $8,600. But after he sent the council the first draft of State Of Emergency, which traces leftist movements throughout Singapore's history, the remaining grant was withdrawn ... read full story

*****

Feb 2017
The Straits Times

Writer takes on taboo issues

Balli Kaur Jaswal's novels are both enjoyable and intelligent. They get readers to think about complex issues, from race relations to living with schizophrenia. Her debut, Inheritance, was about mental health issues, homosexuality and the dysfunctional dynamics in a Punjabi family in Singapore. She started it in 2007, when she became the first Singaporean writer to win the £25,000 David T.K. Wong Fellowship for writing at the well- known University of East Anglia … read full story 

*****

Feb 2017
Kitaab

The Lounge Chair Interview: 10 Questions with Daryl Qilin Yam

Tell us about your most recent book or writing project. What were you trying to say or achieve with it? Epigram Books released my first novel, Kappa Quartet, in September 2016. It was a conscious effort on my part, I believe, to have my first novel encapsulate who I was/am as a writer … read full story

*****

Jan 2017
The Straits Times

Local books going global

… Balli Kaur Jaswal's imminent British debut prompted local publishing imprint Epigram Books, which brought out her first two novels, to speed up its plans to start a London arm. The new branch, set up last November, plans to bring out at least 14 titles by local authors this year and the next, starting in May with Jaswal's first novel, Inheritance, and first-time novelist Daryl Yam Qilin's Kappa Quartet. Epigram founder Edmund Wee took out a six-figure bank loan for the venture, which he hopes could put a Singaporean novel in the running for the prestigious Man Booker Prize. Books must be published in Britain to be eligible … read full story

*****

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