Sonny Liew becomes first Singaporean to win Eisner Award

Nicholas Yong
Assistant News Editor
Singaporean writer/artist Sonny Liew. (Photo: Adam Tun-Aung)

UPDATE: This story has been updated to reflect the end of the Eisner Awards ceremony and more background on the event.

Comic artist Sonny Liew has become the first Singaporean to win an Eisner Award, the comic industry’s equivalent of the Oscars.

Nominated in six categories for graphic novel “The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye”, Liew triumphed in three. He won in the Best Writer/Artist, Best US Edition of International Material – Asia, Best Publication Design and categories

The award ceremony, which took place at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront on Saturday morning (22 July) Singapore time, is held annually at the San Diego Comic Convention. Awards were give out to comic creators and works in 30 categories, with the winners chosen via online voting by industry professionals.

Liew had the most Eisner nominations of any creator in 2017, also being nominated in the categories ofBest Graphic Album – New, Best Colouring and Best Lettering.

The Eisner award caps two years of international accolades and acclaim for Liew, including the 2016 Singapore Literature Prize, ever since “Charlie Chan” was released. It has also garnered glowing reviews in major publications such as The New York Times, The Economist and The Washington Post.

Written and illustrated by Liew, the book is an ambitious meditation on Singapore’s history, socio-political issues, comic art history, censorship and more. It examines key incidents in Singapore’s history such as the Hock Lee Bus riots, and includes the late Lee Kuan Yew and Lim Chin Siong as comic characters.

In 2015, the National Arts Council withdrew an $8,000 publishing grant for “Charlie Chan”, citing its “sensitive content”.

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