An introduction to the National Book Development Council of Singapore.


The National Book Development Council of Singapore (NBDCS) is a non-profit organisation and registered charity established in December 1968. It promotes writing, reading, storytelling, and publishing through a variety of festivals and programmes, such as the Asian Festival of Children’s Content and the All In! Young Writers Festival. 

It also presents several annual and biennial awards, including the Singapore Literature Prize; the Hedwig Anuar Children’s Book Award for published works; and the Scholastic Picture Book Award for unpublished works. Its training arm, the Academy of Literary Arts and Publishing, also runs publishing-related and literary arts-focused courses and workshops throughout the year.

To develop and promote Singapore’s books and literary arts sector

To serve the community of professionals in the books and literary arts sector and be a platform for them to network, learn and collaborate to achieve global recognition


The ‘Y’ lines of the NBDCS logo symbolise an open book both in print and in electronic format. The rainbow colours represent the colours and imagination of the reading, writing and publishing experience as well as the new directions and the renewed dynamism of the council.


The Book Council can trace its origins to the inaugural UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) Meeting of Experts on Book Production and Distribution in Asia held in Tokyo, Japan, in May 1966, during which a proposal was made to establish national book development councils across Asia.

In the mid-1960s, the UNESCO continued to hold a series of regional meetings in Asia, Africa, the Arab States and Latin America to assess long-term book needs, and to assist in working out national policies and strategies to overcome book hunger. It was at these meetings that UNESCO further encouraged the formation of national book development councils to play a key role in promoting and coordinating all areas of book development activity in harmony with overall national development.

On 19 December 1968, the Book Council was finally registered as a non-profit, charitable organisation, and was formally inaugurated on 13 February 1969 by the then Minister for Culture, Mr Jek Yeun Thong, with 12 members representing government and non-government educational, cultural, publishing, printing, library and bookselling associations and institutions. Its place of business then was designated at the National Library, and was born with official government blessing and given government support through ad hoc grants for specific projects.

Today, the Book Council continues to grow and cultivate Singapore's books and local literary arts scene by organising a variety of festivals, programmes and projects, and managing its own training arm. As a long-time advocate of Asian children’s literature and storytelling, it has also helmed the premier regional Asian Festival of Children’s Content since 2010. 


Key milestones

NAC grant
NBDCS is a recipient of the National Arts Council's Major Grant for the period from 1 April 2016 to 31 March 2017.