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Golden Point Award 2017 Award Ceremony

Singapore, 7 November 2017 – Forty-two works have been selected for their literary excellence from some 700 entries for the 2017 Golden Point Award.  The awards ceremony is held at The Arts House, in conjunction with the Singapore Writers Festival. The Guest-of-Honour for the 2017 Golden Point Award ceremony is Mr Baey Yam Keng, Parliamentary Secretary for the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth.

The 13th edition of the bi-annual competition celebrates the creativity of budding Singapore writers from all ages and walks of life. Entrants ranging from 9 to 78 years old, from students to civil servants, homemakers to film-makers competed in the nationwide creative writing platform for Short Story and Poetry held from 1 May to 14 July 2017.

“The Golden Point Award has grown into a significant platform for discovering new literary writers – giving them the opportunity to hone their craft, gain exposure and have their stories read by esteemed judges and the public. It is our hope that all who have submitted their works consider this a step in their writing journey, continue to write and go on to be active participants in Singapore’s increasing vibrant literary scene  and create works that inspire people – like illustrious winners Joshua Ip (2015, 2013), Farihan Bahron (2015) and Tania de Rozario (2011),” said Ms May Tan, Director, Sector Development for Literary Arts, National Arts Council.

On the whole, the adjudicators also commended the high quality of entries in some of the categories. Singapore Literature Prize winner (1996) Mr Colin Cheong, who was part of the panel for the English Short Stories, said, "The standard of this year's entries was very high and many of them were truly a joy to read. There seems also to have been a return to the more classic short story form, with less of an experimental edge compared to say, the last Golden Point. Many of the stories we read are worthy of publication and I do hope that these works get out there to readers.”

The panel described first prize winner Mohamed Saleem’s short story Mani as having “all the hallmarks of a classic story”. Saleem, who is a filmmaker, tells the tale of the less well-known Indian practice of idol-worship being applied to celebrities through the perspective of a milk deliveryman. The judges concurred, “The writer's sure touch was demonstrated at the end of the story, when it closed with an image, that in its gentleness, makes the accusation of callousness all the more pointed.”

Adjudicating the Chinese Poetry entries, Mr Pan Cheng Lui, former Editor-in-Chief of Shin Min Daily as well as an accomplished poet and writer, shared, “The young writers are proficient in the Chinese language, they display a good command and knowledge of music and might even be influenced by Western poetic forms and styles.” He also thought that this could be a sign of the start of generational change in Chinese poetry writing in Singapore.

Sun Jie won the first prize with her Chinese poetry collection that was largely inspired by incidents that had unfolded on her travels to places like Rome and Italy. The panel was impressed and noted that while she had utilised a travelogue as a point of departure, she went beyond “purely descriptive depiction of scenery and architecture to integrate unique viewpoints and reflections about life”.

The associate editor of Tamil Murasu and one of judges for the Tamil Short Story, Kanagalatha, said, “The winners in the Tamil short story category, especially the winner of the first prize, show promise as future writers. To achieve that, they should develop their craft through wide reading and continuous writing. Also, more aspiring Tamil writers and poets should use the GPA experience to assess their work and sharpen their writing skills.”

Tun Sri Lanang Literary Award winner (2011) and educator Dr Hadijah Ramat, who was on the adjudication panel of the Malay Poetry category, shared, “The judges felt the entries were generally of good quality, exploring various themes and current issues such as love, faith, race, nationality, social and mental health issues. The first prize winning collection, Bicara Sepohon Tua (Tale of an Old Tree), dealt with the various themes including life’s fragility, self-worth and used imagery that was both stark and embellished.” 

Nur-El-Hudaa Binte Jaffar also pulled off an extraordinary feat when her two entries clinched the first and second prize of the Malay Short Story category. The first prize story Balada Kasih Romi dan Junid explores the deterioration of a marriage which the panel praised for its sharp and controlled prose. Biarkan Dia Berena, the second prize story, was starkly different as Nur-El-Hudaa traced the journey of a woman whose story crosses the borders of Bosnia to France over two decades as the protagonist confronts and eventually embraces her fears. 

Many of the winners this year are a testament to the quote “A professional writer is an amateur who didn't quit” by best-selling author Richard Bach with over half of the winners having previously submitted for previous editions of the Golden Point Award.

To help the participants prepare their submissions, a series of writing workshops conducted in May by award-winning and established writers such as Chow Teck Seng, Noor Hasnah Adam, O Thiam Chin and Sithuraj Ponraj. The workshops for English Poetry and Short Story had a second run in June after the first editions were fully subscribed.

The 2017 Golden Point Awards is an initiative of the National Arts Council and managed by The Arts House. All winning entries will be made available to the public on the NAC website ( on 14 November 2017. 


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