Singapore’s premier creative writing competition attracts bumper crop of aspiring literary talents


Singapore, 27 October 2011 – A bumper crop of 750 entries from 670 participants were received for the NAC-SPH Golden Point Award 2011. Compared to the 2009 edition of the competition, the number of entries and number of participants increased significantly by 39% and 48% respectively.


Organised biennially by NAC and sponsored by Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) and SPH Foundation, the competition for creative writing on a national level serves as a significant platform for the growth of literary excellence in the country, and for the recognition of promising new talent. (For background on the Golden Point Award, please refer to Annex A).


Held in conjunction with Singapore Writers Festival 2011, this year’s award presentation honours the creativity of 42 poets and short story writers across the four languages of English, Chinese, Malay and Tamil. All Singapore citizens and Permanent Residents who had not been previously published as solo writers were invited to submit works on any subject and theme.


Poetry Categories – 1st Prize Winners

For the English poetry category, Tania Marie De Rozario took first prize for her collection of works including "The First Face You Saw", while Wang Choon Beng was recognised in the Chinese category for his poem, "Searching". Hamed Bin Ismail’s "Journey of a Wounded Poem" and Banumathi Venkatramani’s "Live for Eternity" received top honours in the Malay and Tamil categories respectively.


Chinese poetry adjudicator Dr Wong Yoon Wah, Faculty Professor and Director of International Language and Culture at Taipei’s Yuan Ze University, says, "The quality of Chinese poetry entries received portrays excellence in language and imagination. Comparing them with poems written by young Chinese poets from Taiwan, China and Hong Kong, I feel these entries are world standard. I think Singapore’s multi-cultural society and bilingual education helps produce better poetry because Singaporeans can read a wide variety of texts. The complexity of our multi-racial culture also makes them think deeper and broader."


Writer Mr KTM Iqbal, Tamil poetry adjudicator, says, "There are some good entries received for the Tamil Poetry category which deserve recognition and encouragement."


Short Story Categories – 1st Prize Winners

For short stories, Karen Kwek Wen Min’s entry, "The Dispossessed", came in first in the English Short Story awards, while the first prize distinction in the Chinese category was shared by Tor Kok Choon with his cycle of nine stories entitled "Only him and her" and Chng Beng Khai with "Heaven Palace, Earth Palace, Water Palace". Hassan Hasaa’ree Ali’s "Homeostasis" stood out amongst the Malay entries to take home the first prize, while S. Anbarasan’s "A Loving Gift is Love Itself" won over the judges in the Tamil category. (For detailed list of all winners, please refer to Annex B).


Short story adjudicators agree that there is no lack of young literary talent in Singapore. Malay short story adjudicator Mr Isa Kamari and Cultural Medallion recipient says, "I was delighted to have read and assessed short stories that are not only refreshing in expression but mostly profound in exploration of themes and ideas. The relatively young winners have demonstrated that they are writers who have the skill and vision to produce good or even great works in the future."


Writer Ms Ovidia Yu, English short story adjudicator, says, "There were enough stories we loved to make it difficult to pick the final winners. And in addition to some striking stories, there were also fascinating samples of writing that clearly belonged in other fields, such as memoirs, children's books, poetry and full length novels. I'm impressed by the fertility in Singapore's literary landscape!"



The winners were selected by a panel of judges comprising some of the Singapore’s leading literary talents, including the English-language writers Cyril Wong, Kirpal Singh and Simon Tay, Chinese writer Chia Joo Ming, Malay novelist Isa Kamari, and Cultural Medallion recipient Rama Kannabiran, and many others including previous Golden Point Award winners such as, Johar Bin Buang, Dave Chua, Goh Mey Teck, and Seetha Lakshmi. (For more information on the judging panel, please refer to Annex C).


All winning poetry and short story entries will be made available for the public’s reading pleasure at from tomorrow, 28 October 2011.


The 2011 SPH-NAC Golden Point Award was made possible through the support of Official Sponsors SPH and SPH Foundation, key programming partner The Arts House, and award supporters the National Library Board and Elephant & Coral Penco Pte Ltd. The next Golden Point Award competition will take place in 2013.