Younger Malaysian author Joshua Kam wins Singapore’s richest literary prize

Malaysian author Joshua Kam, 23, is the youngest winner of Singapore’s Epigram Books Fiction Prize, which opened submissions to Asean writers for the primary time.

The S$25,000 (RM75,400) prize, which was given out on Jan 16 throughout a gala dinner at a Singapore lodge, was beforehand restricted to Singapore residents and everlasting residents.

Epigram Books founder Edmund Wee stated in 2018 that he wished to increase the prize to writers from different Asean international locations as a technique to attain out to extra individuals.

The 2018 winner, Yeoh Jo-Ann, was born in Malaysia however is a Singapore everlasting resident.

The award, sometimes called Singapore’s richest literary prize, is an advance on royalties from ebook gross sales.

Kam received for his manuscript How The Man In Inexperienced Saved Pahang, And Probably The World, during which two characters, Gabriel and Lydia, go on a cross-country race in opposition to time in an try to forestall the top of the world, assembly historic and legendary figures from folklore alongside the way in which.

To be printed within the second half of 2020, will probably be his debut novel.

Kam grew up in Montana in the USA, the place his mother and father studied economics, and later returned to Kuala Lumpur, the place he lived for 15 years. He’s now pursuing a grasp’s diploma in South-East Asian research on the College of Michigan.

“A part of me is simply grateful to be a vessel of the tales, peoples and ancestries I write about,” he stated. “Receiving a platform by way of Epigram – for these many ancestries and their tales – is a pleasure and honour.”

The winner was chosen by a panel of judges comprising Wee, writer Balli Kaur Jaswal, film-maker Tan Pin Pin, Mekong Evaluate literary quarterly chief Minh Bui Jones and Prof Rajeev S. Patke, director of the Division of Humanities at Yale-NUS Faculty.

Prof Patke known as Kam’s manuscript “essentially the most exuberant of the 4 novels”.

He added: “It’s full of vitality, cheerfulness and a linguistic panache that could be a bit tough, however altogether charming.”

Kam beat three different finalists, Singaporean Erni Salleh, 31, who manages the Nationwide Library Board’s Cell Library Companies; California-based Thai author Sunisa Manning, 34; and Universiti Brunei Darussalam assistant professor Kathrina Mohd Daud, 35.

Every acquired S$5,000 (RM15,000) and also will have their manuscripts printed by Epigram within the second half of 2020.

The 2020 prize acquired 62 submissions from eight international locations. – The Straits Instances/Asia Information Community

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