235 total submissions across all categories is 53 more than the 182 submissions in 2014: The Book Council

The National Book Development Council of Singapore (The Book Council) has announced that the 2016 Singapore Literature Prize has received the most submissions ever in its 25-year history. 235 submissions were received across the twelve categories encompassing three genres (Fiction, Poetry, and Non-Fiction) and our four national languages.

“We are very excited to see a record-breaking number of works submitted to the SLP,” said Executive Director of the National Book Development Council of Singapore Mr R Ramachandran. “We are very happy to see so many new and established authors writing new works across all genres and languages. We cannot wait for the judges to shortlist the works so that we can begin promoting them across Singapore and beyond. We are also thankful to the government institutions, corporate sponsors, foundations, and individual donors who are supporting the prize, including the National Arts Council, the Little India Shopkeepers and Heritage Association, and the Singapore Press Holdings Foundation. We are very pleased that their continued support of the award has assisted us in promoting the best in Singaporean contemporary writing in all four languages.”

RRamachandranCelebrating 50 years of cordial diplomatic relations in 2015, India invited Singapore, through the National Book Development Council of Singapore (NBDCS), to be the Guest of Honour for this year’s New Delhi World Book Fair (NDWBF), from 14 to 22 February 2015. In this exclusive interview with Kitaab’s editor-in-chief Zafar Anjum, Dr. R. Ramachandran, Executive Director of NBCDS, shares his experiences from the NDWBF.

Singapore was the Guest of Honour country at this year’s NewDelhi World Book Fair. Has this strengthened  cooperation between India and Singapore? 

R. Ramachandran: Our links with India has always been good professionally. What has not happened over the years is Indian public awareness of our authors and publishers.  The large number of authors and publishers and the 30 programmes organised at the Fair, schools and bookshops has broken the ice and Singapore, besides being a financial centre,  has  also become known now as a literary and publishing hub  among the Indian readers. This awareness would lead to more publishers being interested in our books as they would be saleable in the Indian market.

Besides, Indian reading public had been hitherto insular. They have been reading Indian tittles in English and in their local languages. As India is opening up, there is  an  interest in other parts of the world, particularly Asia. This became apparent when Indians bought reprinting rights to some of our fiction and non-fiction titles.

The other important factor is that the  Singapore Publishers’ and writers’ perception of the  quality and the range of Indian titles has greatly improved. They now know that Indian publications have reached international standards both in content and packaging and therefore would be of interest to Singaporean and ASEAN readers

Hence, I would think that the literary  and  publishers links would be strengthened as there would now be a business motivation behind the literary and publishing initiatives.

RRamachandranThis year, Singapore’s Book Council is launching an all-new literary arts initiative, titled Twilight Tales (TT). This bimonthly storytelling session for adults, will be held and hosted by friends in their cosy homes . featuring well-known writers and/or story-weavers.

“Our plan is to reach out to  more and different audiences with stories and books with TT,” R. Ramachandran, the executive director of Book Council told Kitaab.  “TT will be held once in two months in a home of friends who will host the event. The hosts will provide the refreshments and the venue – normally their homes – while the Council will organise the programme and publicise it. The hosts will also invite their friends and colleagues. The number of people would be about 30 or so.”