Award-winning poet Judith Huang releases ‘bold and fantastical’ debut novel, Sofia and the Utopia Machine


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SINGAPORE — Sofia’s father has been missing for years. Her controlling mother doesn’t seem to understand her. And she can’t help feeling that something is missing. So imagine her excitement when, one day, she discovers a gateway to a brand new world.

That is the premise of Sofia and the Utopia Machine, the debut novel of award-winning poet, Judith Huang.

Set in futuristic Singapore, Sofia and the Utopia Machine was a finalist for the 2017 Epigram Books Fiction Prize (EBFP) and is Judith’s debut novel.

According to Judith, who previously won the UK Poetry Society’s Foyle Young Poet of the Year award three times, says Sofia is in part inspired by her interest in the idea of alternative worlds, and by what she saw as the stratification of Singapore’s society.

Among her other influences were Neil Gaiman’s popular Sandman comic book series, as well as the work of Malaysian-Australian writer and illustrator, Shaun Tan. “One of the messages that I wanted this book to communicate is that adventure might just lurk around the corner from you, and that you might not know everything about the society that you live in,” says Judith.

Cyril Wong, two-time Singapore Literature Prize winner and one of the judges for the 2017 EBFP calls the book “a bold and fantastical work … that would sit perfectly on any Young Adult speculative fiction shelf, with its fast pace and childlike sense of adventure”. Probing and thrilling, this novel explores worlds within worlds and reinvents the creation myth.

The book is available from Epigram’s online store ( as well as LocalBooks ( It is also available from all leading bookstores.


About the Author
Judith Huang is a three-time winner of the UK Poetry Society’s Foyle Young Poet of the Year award, and has been published in Prairie Schooner, Asia Literary Review, QLRS, LONTAR: The Journal of Southeast Asian Speculative Fiction, Stylus and Asymptote. She holds an AB from Harvard University, and her first poetry collection is in the works. Sofia and the Utopia Machine is her first novel.