2014 SEA Write Award winner Haresh Sharma wrote a short piece on his experiences in Bangkok during the SEA Write Award Week. In case you don't know, Mr Sharma is the Resident Playwright of The Necessary Stage, and he has written over 100 plays, many of which have been staged internationally at cities such as Busan, Cairo, Budapest, Melbourne, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Glasgow, London, Sibiu, Dublin, Delhi, Birmingham, and Tokyo.
The Book Council organizes the Singapore Chapter of the SEA Write Award, which has been awarded to such literary luminaries as Elangovan, Isa Kamari, Lee Tzu Pheng, and now Haresh Sharma since 1979. Originally organized by NUS, the Book Council took over the Secretariat duties in 2009.
WIthout further ado, your 2014 SEA Write Award Winner!
I attended the SEA Write Award Programme which was held from 10 – 16 December 2014 in Bangkok, Thailand. The awardees were hosted by the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, with travel sponsored by Thai Airways.
The programme allowed us Southeast Asian writers to interact with one another. Despite language barriers, there was a feeling of camaraderie, especially by the end of the week when we attended the official Awards ceremony. Books were exchanged and photographs taken, with invitations extended across the board to visit each other.
A highlight of the week was a panel discussion attended by high school students, hosted by Bangkok Bank. The writers were able to share a little bit about their work, and their thoughts on writing in Southeast Asia today. The students were very engaged and there was a positive feeling of inter-generational exchange.
The programmed ended on a high with the Awards Ceremony presided over by HRH Princess Sirivannavari Nariratana. All the writers presented copies of their books to the princess who also gave plaques of recognition to the awardees.
All in all, it was a memorable experience. As host, the Mandarin Oriental Hotel and its staff was welcoming, hospitable and generous. Members of the SEA Write Organising Committee were also gracious enough to attend some of the events and show their support to the awardees.
Finally, I would like to thank the Singapore judging panel and the NBDCS for their support. It was an honour to be selected the Singapore SEA Write Award recipient of 2014, and a privilege to represent Singapore at this prestigious event.