Little India riot novel wins Singapore’s richest literary prize

This article is more than 12 months old

It was second time lucky for author Sebastian Sim, who walked away with $25,000 after winning the third Epigram Books Fiction Prize last night.

The office executive, 51, won Singapore's richest literary prize with his manuscript The Riot Act.

He was a finalist for the inaugural prize in 2015 for comic novel Let's Give It Up For Gimme Lao! but lost to O Thiam Chin's Now That It's Over.

Said Sim: "I practised being disappointed two years ago so this year I decided to lower my expectations.

"This has been a big surprise and I can't stop smiling."

The Riot Act, set in the aftermath of the 2013 Little India riot, is a fictional tale about three women whose lives intertwine due to the event, from Hashwini, who fears her actions may have triggered the chaos, to Sharon, who plans to take advantage of it to boost her political career.

Described as a "fast-paced romp", it follows in the same comic vein as Gimme Lao and looks at the way the truth was distorted and reworked to fit different agendas in the wake of the riot.

The Riot Act will be published next year by Epigram, as will the manuscripts of this year's three other finalists. - OLIVIA HO