Ovidia Yu, Chia Joo Ming & Peter Augustine Goh win South East Asian Writers Award

The S.E.A. Write Award (South East Asian Writers Award) has been revived after a three-year break with three writers from Singapore selected for the honour. The three winners have been selected for the three years, 2016-2018, when this prestigious ASEAN award was put on hold to mourn the passing of the late King Bhumibol.

Ovidia Yu gets the award for 2016; ChiaJoo Ming for 2017 and Peter Augustine Goh for 2018.

Yu, a writer of light detective novels set in 1930s Singapore, said, her first reaction was “amazement and disbelief… mostly because I write humorous murder mysteries and, on the literary hierarchy, that ranks far below poetry and literary novels”.

“It feels like a validation of something I deeply believe – that whatever we set out to write has first to entertain,” she added.”Reading is only a luxury we can’t afford if it’s not fun. After all, we somehow afford bubble tea and mobile phones.”

Chia is a sixty-year-old veteran who has received the Singapore Literature prize twice and is apart of the O level local curriculum.

Goh, a Malaysian turned Singaporean, is sixty-five, winner of the 2016 Singapore Literature Prize and has more than thrity books under his belt.

They will be presented with their awards together at a ceremony on 25 Nov 2019 to be held in Bangkok, Thailand. Her Royal Highness Princess Sirivannavari Nariratana Rajakanya of Thailand will be presiding over the ceremony, which will be held at the Royal Ballroom of the Mandarin Oriental Bangkok.

The S.E.A. Write Award was established in 1979 to recognise and honour literary excellence in the ASEAN region. Based in Bangkok, the awards have been presented annually since 1979 to leading poets and writers in the 10 ASEAN countries which choose their own winners.

Each awardee receives a monetary honorarium of baht 50,000 (about S$2,200) plus an all-expenses-paid, four-day stay in Bangkok. Her Royal Highness Princess Sirivannavari Nariratana Rajakanya will also bestow the winners with commemorative plaques. In addition, they will take part in literary talk activities at the Bangkok Bank Public Company and Chulalongkorn University

The award winners will join a long illustrious list of writers that include Edwin Thumboo, Haresh Sharma, Isa Kamari, J.M. Sali and Suchen Christine Lim to name a few.


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