Singapore Author Desmond Kon has walked away with the gold in four out of the five formal regional categories at this year’s USA Regional Excellence Book Awards.
His winning titles include: Phat Planet Cometh (Glass Lyre Press), The Wrong/Wrung Side of Love (Glass Lyre Press), Singular Acts of Endearment (Grey Sparrow Press), Babel Via Negativa (Ethos Books), I Didn’t Know Mani Was A Conceptualist (Math Paper Press), Sanctus Sanctus Dirgha Sanctus (Red Wheelbarrow Books), and Eye/Feel/Write: Experiments in Ekphrasis (Squircle Line Press). In fact, had the anthology Ars Moriendi won under the category of Anthology (Southeast Region) instead of its placing as a finalist – Clay Stafford’s Killer Nashville Noir: Cold-Blooded bagged first place – Desmond would have placed wins in all five territories.
According to its awards criteria, the USA Regional Excellence Book Awards recognizes and rewards excellence in books that take readers into the heart of a “place”, delivering the experience of a locale, “whether it’s the glitz of Hollywood of any era, the historic sense of New England, the glamour of Beverly Hills, the grandeur of one of the great plains states, or the high-powered bustle of a New York city”. The awards competition, USA REBA for short, is open to all print books written in English.
The five USA Regions comprise the following: Southeast (Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia); Northeast (Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington DC); Southwest (Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas); Midwest (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin); and West (California, Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Wyoming, Washington).
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Sengkang MP He Ting Ru said she was dismayed that many Singaporeans are living with racism. "There is no place in our society for racism, sexism or xenophobia," she wrote.