Home Book Award Singapore Literature Prize: Wang Gungwu and Suratman Markasan in the running at 91

Singapore Literature Prize: Wang Gungwu and Suratman Markasan in the running at 91


SINGAPORE – At 91, historian Wang Gungwu and literary pioneer Suratman Markasan are the oldest writers shortlisted for the 2022 Singapore Literature Prize.

Wang’s Home Is Where We Are, the second part of her memoir, is up for creative English non-fiction.

Suratman, a Cultural Medal recipient who has been shortlisted for four previous editions of the award, dominates the Malaysian creative non-fiction category this year with his essay collections, Mengasah Kalam Jilid 2 (Honing The Pen Volume 2) and Mengapa Saya Menulis (Why Do I write).

The biennial prize, organized by the Singapore Book Council, is Singapore’s oldest ongoing literary prize in all four official languages.

This year, 49 works were shortlisted in the genres of poetry, fiction and creative non-fiction in English, Chinese, Malay and Tamil.

The top prize in each category includes $3,000 and a trophy.

Of the 43 shortlisted writers, five are nominated in two or more categories.

Wang, who is known for his research on Chinese history, wrote Home Is Where We Are with his late wife Margaret Wang.

It will face Clara Chow’s New Orleans Travel Diary, Kagan Goh’s early memoir Surviving Samsara: A Memoir Of Breakdowns, Breakthroughs, And Mental Illness, and Nilanjana Sengupta’s The Votive Pen: Writings On Edwin Thumboo, a biography of the veteran poet. and Singaporean academic. .

Chow, a former Straits Times reporter, has two other books in the running for the award – a short story collection Not Great, But At Least Something in the English fiction category and Lousy Love Poems, for Chinese poetry.

She is the first writer in the history of the prize to be shortlisted in three categories in two different languages.

Not great, but at least something stands against This Side Of Heaven by Cyril Wong, Shantih Shantih Shantih by Daryl Qilin Yam, She Never Looke Back by Mallika Naguran, and Snow At 5pm: Translations Of An Insignificant Japanese Poet by Jee Leong Koh.

Koh is also in the running for the English Poetry Prize for his collection Connor & Seal.

He will face Anything But Human by Daryl Lim Wei Jie, The Orchid Folios by Mok Zining, We Make Spaces Divine by Pooja Nansi and One To The Dark Tower Comes by Yeow Kai Chai.

Yeow and Nansi are the former and current directors of the Singapore Writers Festival respectively.