Singapore Prize Winners

The Singapore prize is the highest literary award for a local work of fiction or nonfiction in Singapore, and the richest pot for any book award here. The award comes with a $100,000 cash prize and a trophy, and was launched in April by the Singapore University of Social Sciences (NUS). It promotes writing that champions mindsets important to the nation, such as “equality, diversity, religious harmony, pragmatism and an emphasis on education, innovation and community”.

The winner, Prof Miksic, described his work as “a fundamental reinterpretation of Singapore’s history.” He also said that it addressed a long-held question of whether Singapore began before 1819, when the British East India Company captured it from the Dutch. His work drew on various sources, including written records by Chinese trader Wang Dayuan in the 13th century. It found that the area was known as Temasek, and was also referred to as Longyamen or Dragon Teeth’s Gate.

Another first-time winner is Ms Hidayah, who won the NUS Singapore History Prize for her book Leluhur: Singapore Kampong Glam. She said she felt her book was a “synthesis of the history that’s already there, and based on primary research.” The prize citation says it was “eloquently written and richly researched”.

All the winners in the English category are first-timers. Joining Ms Hidayah in the list are poets alllkunila, innnpaa, Jee Leong Koh and rma cureess. The other nonfiction winners are Edwin Thumboo for The Invisible Man of Asia and Jeremy Tiang for State of Emergency.

This year’s prize was awarded at a star-studded ceremony on Tuesday, hosted by actors Hannah Waddingham and Sterling K Brown. It was held at the Mediacorp campus and featured performances by the bands One Republic, Bastille and Bebe Rexha. Prince William, who was in Singapore for the launch of the Earthshot Prize, an initiative by his Royal Foundation charity to amplify solutions to climate change, appeared on stage in a 10-year-old dark green blazer from Alexander McQueen. He and the other presenters walked on a green carpet made of recycled materials.

The Earthshot Prize is an initiative of the Royal Foundation to accelerate the pace of clean energy progress by amplifying the voices of leading innovators from around the world. It has a US$1 million funding pool and is being supported by organisations including Temasek Trust, Generation Zero, GRST, WildAid Marine Programme, S4S Technologies and Boomitra. The winners were announced at a star-studded awards ceremony in Singapore that was attended by the winners, their representatives, and the founders of the supporting organisations. The event was filmed for a TV series that will air in 2023. Guests were encouraged to attend in sustainable attire, with some guests opting to go green with their outfits. In addition to the eco-friendly fashion, the event was also a celebration of the power of collaboration to drive impact. The winning teams were invited to showcase their technology, and explain how they are using their innovation to help address the most pressing challenges facing humanity.