Second time lucky! Sebastian Sim, author of Let’s Give It Up for Gimme Lao!, was a finalist for the 2015 Epigram Books Fiction Prize (EBFP) but fell short of winning the top prize. It was a different story at the award ceremony and gala dinner held at the Conrad Centennial Singapore on 23 November. Sim walked away as the winner of EBFP 2017, with a cash prize of S$25,000 and a publishing contract for his 2017 submission, The Riot Act.
Sebastian Sim wins Epigram Books Fiction Prize 2017
Published on 24 November 2017
The Riot Act is a surrealistic retelling of the Little India riot, as seen through the perspectives of three women. “A theme I explored was how difficult it is to maintain one’s integrity and practise honesty when circumstances promise to reward you if you will just bend your principles a little,” says Sim.
Judging panelist Cyril Wong says of the manuscript, “The fast-paced narrative strikes with surrealist accuracy at the cynicism and cold-blooded callousness at the heart of Singapore’s culture wars and political shenanigans. What feels like ridiculous satire is soon taken over by the realisation that everything in the novel is only too possible.”
The EBFP saw a total of 47 submissions this year, covering a variety of literary genres. The other three finalists – Judith Huang (Sofia and the Utopia Machine), Akshita Nanda (Nimita’s Place), and Andre Yeo (9th of August) – receive S$5,000 each, and their shortlisted titles will also be published by Epigram Books. [*Look out for a follow-up story with the EBFP 2017 winner and finalists!]