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About Singapore Book Council

An introduction to the Singapore Book Council (formerly National Book Development Council of Singapore – NBDCS).


The Singapore Book Council (SBC) is an independent charity with IPC status. Established in 1968 to support Singapore literature, SBC aims to Build Our Imagine-nation by developing creativity, imagination, original thought, and empathy. Our programmes focus on creative writing, reading, illustration, translation and storytelling. We are committed to developing a multicultural, literary arts sector and recognising excellence in literature through our initiatives.

Because It All Starts With A Story.

International recognition for quality, diverse Singapore literature.

To develop, support and advocate a multicultural literary arts sector.​

The Book Council cultivates Singapore’s literary arts scene by organising literary festivals like the Asian Festival of Children’s Content (AFCC); conferring prestigious awards like the Singapore Literature Prize; bringing communities together with the #BuySingLit movement; and supporting the industry through our Academy programmes.

Because it all starts with a story.


The ‘Y’ lines of the logo symbolise an open book both in print and in electronic format. The rainbow colours represent the colours and imagination of the reading, writing and publishing experience as well as the new directions and the renewed dynamism of the council.


The Book Council can trace its origins to the inaugural UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) Meeting of Experts on Book Production and Distribution in Asia held in Tokyo, Japan, in May 1966, during which a proposal was made to establish national book development councils across Asia.

In the mid-1960s, the UNESCO continued to hold a series of regional meetings in Asia, Africa, the Arab States and Latin America to assess long-term book needs, and to assist in working out national policies and strategies to overcome book hunger. It was at these meetings that UNESCO further encouraged the formation of national book development councils to play a key role in promoting and coordinating all areas of book development activity in harmony with overall national development.

On 19 December 1968, the Book Council was finally registered as a non-profit, charitable organisation, and was formally inaugurated on 13 February 1969 by the then Minister for Culture, Mr Jek Yeun Thong, with 12 members representing government and non-government educational, cultural, publishing, printing, library and bookselling associations and institutions. Its place of business then was designated at the National Library, and was born with official government blessing and given government support through ad hoc grants for specific projects.

Today, the Book Council continues to grow and cultivate Singapore's books and local literary arts scene by organising a variety of festivals, programmes and projects, and managing its own training arm. As a long-time advocate of Asian children’s literature and storytelling, it has also helmed the premier regional Asian Festival of Children’s Content since 2010. 


Key milestones

NAC grant
The Book Council is a recipient of the National Arts Council’s Major Grant from 2019 to 2021.