Since 1979, the S.E.A. Write Award, or the Southeast Asian Writers Award, has been presented annually to poets and writers in Southeast Asia.
The awards are given to a writer from a country that is part of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) though not all countries in ASEAN have been represented every year. The award is sometimes given for a specific work by an author and sometimes awarded for lifetime achievement. The types of honoured works vary and have included poetry, short stories, novels, plays, folklore, and scholarly and religious works.
The ten countries which comprise the ASEAN region are Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, The Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
- To recognise the creativity of writers from countries of the ASEAN region,
- To create a wider awareness and understanding of literary wealth amongst the ten ASEAN countries,
- To honour and promote the literary talents of the ASEAN creative writers,
- To bring together the many talents of ASEAN writers.
Professor Edwin Thumboo was Chairman of the award for Singapore from its inception to 2012. In 2013, Professor Wong Yoon Wah is the appointed Chairman for the award for Singapore. Singapore Book Council is the appointed Secretariat for the award.