China will downsize awards for art and literature by 60 percent nationwide this year,the Ministry of Culture (MOC) announced on Monday.

Too many redundant awards ceremonies and appraisals of literature and art have caused irregularities and power-for-money deals, according to the MOC.

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Singapore bank announces storytellers grant of a SGD 150,000 to be awarded to three winning storytellers

POSB, which calls itself Singapore’s neighbourhood bank, has announced the POSB Storytellers Grant, a SGD 150,000 initiative to fund the creation of works from aspiring storytellers that provide contemporary and refreshed perspectives on Singapore’s ‘new neighbourhoods’.

These storytellers could be anyone, from photographers to writers, artists to videographers, or simply just the man-on-the-street with a unique tale, said POSB Bank in a statement on 24 April. The grant of SGD150,000 will be awarded to three winners to produce a story about the new neighbourhood and share it with the community.

The initiative has been launched as part of the bank’s SG50 initiative NeighboursFirst.

The grant aims to uncover and share compelling stories that redefine the way Singaporeans see our neighbourhoods and communities today, the bank said in its statement.

yiyun-liJudges praise the tale of a Chinese-American nanny for its ‘exquisite crafting, brilliant observations and modest but powerful voice’: The Guardian

The “mastery” of Yiyun Li’s tale about a Chinese-American nanny caring for a troubled mother and her newborn baby has made her the first woman to win the Sunday Times short story prize.

Li’s story, A Sheltered Woman, took the £30,000 award on Friday evening. First published in the New Yorker in March 2014, it tells of Auntie Mei, nanny to a new baby whose mother says she is suffering from postpartum depression. 

“The culture of reading printed matter is in crisis, so I want to help produce more writers who deserve to be called artisans — just like young Fujimoto did,” said Tokiko Fujimoto, the 80-year-old widow of Naoki Prize-winning writer Giichi Fujimoto.

Tokiko has established a literature award named after her husband, who died about 2½ years ago. Entries for the award will be accepted from May.

A new book prize is being created in Hong Kong aimed at breaking the cultural hegemony of Western awards.

The World Readers’ Award seeks to celebrate the works of authors barred from existing major prizes, Nury Vittachi, chairman of the Asia Pacific Writers and Translators Association, said.

With the launch of the prize – which he nicknamed “the Golden Egg” as it will be presented in the Charles K. Kao Auditorium, an egg-shaped structure in the Science Park – Vittachi also wants to promote books that offer a more accurate description of the world.

In the first year of the awards, only English-language published works will be eligible. “To start with, the books will need to be in English, otherwise we would have to have judges who could read huge numbers of different languages,” he said. “But we will also accept books which have been translated into English from any other language.”

On a day he was declared winner of the 2014 Jnanpith award, India’s highest literary honour, Marathi writer Bhalchandra Nemade described English as a ” killer language” and calling for its banning from the field of education in India. He also sharply criticized two Indian-origin writers, V S Naipaul and Salman Rushdie, for “pandering to the West” and dismissed their works as being of little value.