The singapore prize was established in 2014 to recognise publications that make a profound impact on the understanding of Singapore history. The Department of History at NUS administers the award, which is open to book-length works in English and Chinese. Works in other languages which contain significant historical content may also be considered, provided they are translated into one of the two official languages.
A selection panel of literary and academic experts judged this year’s entries. The panel included novelist and professor of international relations Meira Chand; economist Lam San Ling; historian Peter Coclanis; archaeologist John Miksic, who has excavated at the site of Singapore’s first settlement, Kampong Gelam; and writer and former newspaper columnist Kishore Mahbubani.
The judging panel awarded 12 top prizes of up to $10,000 each for fiction, non-fiction and poetry in English, Chinese and Malay. This is the largest number of top prizes ever awarded in the prize’s 25-year history. In previous years, the top prize was split into categories of fiction and poetry and had just one winner for each language.
NUS’s senior advisor (university and global relations) Professor Kishore Mahbubani told reporters that there was a possibility the prize could be expanded to include other creative forms such as movies, comic books and theatre. “We are looking at the idea of casting a wider net to get people to write about Singapore history in a different format, because it may reach more people this way,” he said.
Britain’s Prince William will visit Singapore next month to announce the winners of his Earthshot Prize, a competition for inventors to find solutions to climate change. During his four-day trip, the royal will meet with local groups that are working to protect the environment and help people adapt to the changes.
A record number of 4,000 voters took part in this year’s consumer choice awards, roughly double the 2020 cohort, to determine Singapore’s favourite books. The four winners of the readers’ favorite prize – Ali bin Salim, Daryl Qilin Yam, Pan Zheng Lei (Pan Cheng Lui) and rma cureess (Rama Suresh) – each received $1,000 Singapore dollars in cash and book-purchase vouchers.
The shortlisted books in the non-fiction category this year featured several titles that covered the history of the nation. There were also three titles by Kamaladevi Aravindan on various estates in Singapore, including Sembawang, which explores the development of a residential estate in the 1930s and 1940s. In the Tamil fiction category, this year’s shortlist featured works by Suratman Markasan, Wang Gungwu and rma cureess. The full list of shortlisted books can be found here. The award ceremony will take place at the Victoria Theatre on April 23.