The 14th edition of the Golden Point Award received high quality entries across a wide range of topics from aspiring authors of all ages and walks of life
SINGAPORE, 7 December 2019 – The National Arts Council (NAC) honoured 27 budding writers for their literary excellence at the Golden Point Award 2019 award ceremony held today at The Pod in the National Library Building. The 14th edition of the biennial creative writing competition lauded these literary talents for their winning short stories and poems selected from a strong pool of close to 1,200 entries across the nation’s four official languages, English, Chinese, Malay and Tamil.
2 Over the years, the Golden Point Award has continually attracted participants from all walks of life. This year’s competition received submissions from contestants between 6 to 81 years old, as well as from students to homemakers and civil servants. There was also significant participation from youths, with 60% of submissions by writers aged 35 and below.
3 This edition of Golden Point Award saw an increase in number of overall submissions. The entries also received immense praise from the adjudicators, who commended the high standards across all languages and categories. Dr Meira Chand, who was part of the panel for English Short Story, said, “Looking back over my other stints as a Golden Point Award judge, I feel the shortlisted entries this year are probably the best I have seen. All the winning stories stayed in my mind long after reading, and that is a good test of the quality of a piece of work.”
4 “We are heartened by the overwhelming response from entrants this year. We believe that the substantial increase in entries across all forms and languages points to a growing desire to tell our stories. Today, there is a rich diversity of programmes and initiatives offered by literary organisations that complements NAC’s sustained efforts in cultivating interest in Singaporean literature and writers’ development programmes,” said Ms May Tan, Director, Sector Development for Literary Arts, National Arts Council.
5 With no restrictions on subject and theme, the competition received short stories and poetries that covered a wide range of topics. Golden Point Award 2019’s entries explored themes that touched upon topics such as the ageing population, inter-generational and intercultural interactions as well as familial relationships. Critically acclaimed Filipino writer Dr Jose Dalisay Jr., who was part of the English Short Story panel, said, “The stories submitted covered an astonishing and very revealing range of themes and concerns that created a comprehensive image of Singaporean society today.” The first prize winner Ashish Xiangyi Kumar’s short story, Fish, dealt with the difficult topic of a family member’s death, and was commended by the panel for its sophisticated insights into family dynamics.
6 The adjudicators for the Chinese Poetry category shared that the extensive topics reflect the writers’ range of perspectives. Ong Siew Sze who emerged as the winner of the Chinese Poetry category, was praised for the experimental approach in her poetry about landmarks. The first prize for Chinese Short Story was awarded to Liu Chang (Yu Yueyan) who wrote about animal welfare, a theme that the judges felt was an important one for many years to come. Liu Chang, who seeks inspiration for her writing from Singapore’s history and multiracial society, also clinched third place for her entry in the same category.
7 Singapore Literature Prize winner (2018) and former Golden Point Award winner (2015) Mr Farihan Bahron, an adjudicator for the Malay Short Story category, praised the entries for their technical prowess, “These writers have been practising their craft diligently. They showed finesse while structuring their plots, maintained a tight grasp on the choice of words with its nuances and also displayed proper usage of literary devices. The top three winners also displayed care and respect for the sanctity of the language, showed sensitivity on social and political issues and demonstrated potential to produce works at a higher level in the future.”
8 Dr Suneel Krishnan, an adjudicator for the Tamil Short Story category and winner of the Sathiya Akademi Yuva Purasakar Award (2014) for outstanding young Indian writers, echoed the general positive sentiment on the high quality of submissions this year. He shared, “The shortlisted stories are of such good quality that it makes the job of judging them difficult.” Ultimately, the first prize winner Senthilkumar Natarajan’s short story, Thabovanam, won for its skilful interweaving of the traditional Thai mythology, the Ramayana, with the contemporary story of the life of a struggling artist. According to Dr Suneel, “The mythological images from Ramayana gives the story additional layers and possibilities.”
9 For more information on the Golden Point Award and the 2019 winners and adjudicators, please refer to the annexes below.
ANNEX A: About the Golden Point Award