SINGAPORE, Aug 6 — Over 200 fans showed up at bookstore Kinokuniya yesterday (Aug 5) for a chance to get their copy of Sonny Liew’s award winning The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye autographed by the author.
Fans started arriving from 11am, some three hours ahead of Liew’s scheduled 2pm appearance at the Takashimaya.
Liew, 42, recently returned from the 2017 Comic Convention International: San Diego, where he became the first Singaporean to win the prestigious Eisner awards, the comic industry’s equivalent of the Oscars.
Addressing the crowd, the local illustrator said he was “very grateful” to the crowd for attending the autograph session, where he displayed the prized Eisner awards.
Liew won the Best Writer/Artist category on Saturday morning (July 22) at the Eisner Awards ceremony at the annual Comic Convention International (Comic-Con) in San Diego for his graphic novel The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye. He also snagged the Best Publication Design and Best US Edition of International Material (Asia). Besides these three awards, the graphic novel was also nominated in the Best Graphic Album (New) and Best Colouring, Best Lettering categories.
Speaking with TODAY, Liew said the turnout was “a bit overwhelming”. “(It is) very gratifying for sure, making comics is not an easy thing so any kind of acknowledgment means a lot. My parents are here and I’m quite happy they are here to see everything.”
Among those who turned up for the signing was 71-year-old Florence Chee, who was first in line at 11am. “My 40-year-old son from Sydney asked me to get the book signed for him… (he) likes comics and books,” said Chee.
She added: “It’s very good (that) he (Sonny Liew) can make a name for himself.”
David Goei, 32, who arrived at the store at about noon, said: “Sonny is actually the first Singapore comic writer to win an Oscar level award so obviously we want to come and support him.”
Another fan, administrative assistant, Jess Wong, 29, said: “I’m actually not here to sign anything but am here to support Sonny Liew, because SG lit for the win.”
By 5pm yesterday, all copies of Liew’s graphic novel at Kinokuniya at Takashimaya had sold out.
The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye was published by Epigram Books in Singapore in 2015, and subsequently by Pantheon Books in the United States. It was on the Economist’s Best Book of the Year list last year (2016), as well as The Washington Post’s list of Best Graphic Novels of 2016.
It also bagged the Singapore Literature Prize for English Fiction in July 2016 — the first time the prize went to a graphic novel.
The publication caused a stir when the National Arts Council withdrew an S$8,000 (RM25,150) publishing grant for it in May 2015 due to “sensitive content” on the eve of its Singapore launch in 2015. The work follows the story of fictional artist Charlie Chan during the formative years of Singapore’s modern history. — TODAY