After two years of restrictions and social distancing, the Singapore Literature Prize (SLP) awards ceremony made its return in-person for the first time since 2018 at Victoria Theatre.
Suratman Markasan and Wang Gungwu have made history as the oldest winners of SLP, while eight of the 12 recipients are first-time winners with a mix of seasoned and emerging writers. Tamil writer Rama Suresh clinched two awards, in both the Tamil Fiction and Readers’ Favourite Tamil category.
The first-time winners include Azhagunila, Inbha, Jee Leong Koh, Rama Suresh, Suratman Markasan, Wang Gungwu, Yeow Kai Chai and Yu Fan. Literary pioneer Edwin Thumboo also received the SBC Achievement Award from the guest-of-honour Edwin Tong, Minister for Culture, Community, and Youth.
All the winners of SLP’s English categories have clinched the literary award for the first time. Joining the nonagenarian Wang, who celebrates his 92 nd birthday in October, is Yeow Kai Chai, the former director of the Singapore Writers Festival. Completing the winners’ list is Jee Leong Koh, who won for his debut novel Snow at 5 PM: Translations of an Insignificant Japanese Poet. Jee Leong was also shortlisted in the Poetry category.
Each winner in the 12 categories receives a cash prize of S$3,000. They also get a special hand-crafted trophy and a 12-month gift code to audiobook platform StoryTel.
Four writers beat out their competition to lay claim to the popular Readers’ Favourite award. More than 4,000 voters voted, almost doubling the number of votes cast in 2020. The writers of the four winning books – Ali bin Salim, Daryl Qilin Yam, Pan
Cheng Lui and Rama Suresh received a cash prize of S$1,000 each, with their voters standing the chance to win book vouchers worth $50.
Those who missed the ceremony can still watch it on SBC’s website, YouTube and Facebook from Monday 29 August onwards. Readers will also be able to meet the winners and shortlisted authors in upcoming meet-the-author outreach events.