Lawrence Ypil, a poet and essayist from Cebu, the Philippine who is currently based in Singapore, teaching at Yale-NUS, has been awarded the first prize of the Gaudy Boy Poetry Book Prize. The prize is awarded annually to unpublished manuscripts of original Anglophone poetry by authors of Asian heritage. The winner will have their book published and receive USD1000.
Judge's comment on Lawrence Ypil's book, THERE: "[In There] poetry is indeed a tool of exploration—towards mapping the world, a continual process of defining & modulation—always tentative. One lifts the pages of a family album with the poet, one falls under the spell."
Lawrence shares the first prize with another poet in the USA, Jenifer San Eun Park.
The book will be published in 2019 by Gaudy Boy, an imprint of the New York City based, literary non-profit Singapore Unbound.
Singapore Unbound, which started in the USA, aims to build understanding between communities by facilitation cultural exchanges and publishing literary works of merit. A staunch proponent of the freedom of expression, Singapore Unbound upholds the creative autonomy of the committed writer. Guided by core values of independence, innovation and inspiration, Singapore Unbound continuous to challenge censorship of the arts and support fair opportunities for all artists.
Their flagship activity is the Biennial Singapore Literature Festival in New York which kicked-off in 2014, bringing together Singaporean and American authors and audiences for in-depth conversation about literary and society. They also host regular 'Second Saturdays Reading Series' which is a platform for the reading of Singapore and American literature around New York City.
Gaudy Boy is Singapore Unbound's independent press which brings works of poetry, fiction and non-fiction by authors of Asian Heritage to US audiences. Their inaugural title is Malays Sketches by Alfian Sa'at, an collection of short stories that give a prismatic window into the minority Malay-Muslim community in Singapore. Published for the first time in the US, Malay Sketches traces the inner lives of each character navigating individual and collective nostalgias, religious piety and doubt, and issues of class and race.