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Edmund Wee

Meet Edmund Wee. He’s candid, assiduous, and regularly starts his work day with a crossword puzzle. He also happens to run one of Singapore’s most prominent publishing houses, Epigram Books. We stopped by the Epigram office for a quick chat:


On Singapore Literature

“Increasingly Singaporeans are looking to the literary arts as a form of artistic expressions and more of them are looking for a publisher that can help them realise their vision. I started Epigram Books when I sensed this nascent desire. Since then, it’s been my pleasure and honour to have published so many first -time authors and to see a flourishing of Singapore literature. We do not yet have an ecosystem that can support full-time authors. It is my hope that that will happen and Epigram Books is committed to the cause.”


On Reading

“The Fountainhead was the book that got me into literature. It’s not even a very good book. It’s very misogynistic, but that was one of the first book that I read in my first year of university. Growing up, I didn’t read a lot. I came from a very poor family. So, after I read Fountainhead — the book was a required text for my psychology course — for the first time, I thought, ‘Oh, wow, so this is the power of a novel.’ Then I became interested in reading.

Eventually, the message I got from the book was (perhaps) the most important part of your life is yourself — the training of your intellect. You have to be sure your reasoning, not your emotion, guide your decision-making… and that’s guided my life.”


On Singapore Literature

“All my life, I’ve often been seen as a maverick, a troublemaker … but that’s because I’m independent. I don’t get affiliated.

People always say, ‘Oh, you’re so anti-government.’ I say, ‘If the Workers’ Party were to become the government of Singapore, I would also become anti Workers’ Party.’ I do believe you must always question people who are in power.”