The singapore prize is an award that recognises local works for their contribution to Singapore. It is given by the National University of Singapore (NUS), and was introduced in 2014 in support of programmes to celebrate the nation’s five decades of independence. The winner is awarded a cash prize of S$50,000.
The competition is open to all authors who have published a book in any language and format, including fiction, non-fiction, essays and poetry. The finalists will be ranked according to their scores in each of the categories, and the winners will then be chosen by a panel of judges.
NUS Professor Mahbubani launched the Singapore Prize in April 2014 in an opinion column, calling on philanthropists to donate money to finance a prize for the best history book written about Singapore. A few months later, a new Singapore citizen responded to the call and donated S$500,000 to the prize fund.
Prof Miksic was a member of the jury that picked this year’s winner, Leluhur: Singapore Kampong Glam. He described the work as “a synthesis of history and also primary sources” due to Ms Hidayah’s personal inputs. He said the win was an affirmation that anyone with a life in Singapore can write a history book about the city.
Other books on the shortlist include A History of Singapore by Kwa Chong Guan and Tan Tai Yong; Seven Hundred Years: A History of Singapore by Kamaladevi Aravindan; State of Emergency by Jeremy Tiang; and Home Is Where We Are by Wang Gungwu and Margaret Wang. Several of the works have been translated into English from other languages.
The prize is the second in a series of contests that have been initiated by SUSS to encourage more people to share their stories of Singapore with the world. The inaugural Spirit of Singapore Book Prize, which was announced in April, was backed by a $1 million donation from a Confucian scholar and aims to promote writing that champions mindsets and values important to the shaping of the country, such as equality, religious harmony and meritocracy.
A judging panel comprising philanthropists, social entrepreneurs, academicians and policymakers chose Team Empowered Families Initiative as the grand winner of the prize. The initiative aims to invest in the aspirations and plans of low-income families and empower them with tools, knowledge and skills to transform their lives. The prize comes with seed funding of up to S$250,000 and provides six months of specialised workshops, coaching sessions and access to potential funders and mentors. The winning team will also get to attend a week-long fellowship programme at Harvard. The competition has been running since May 2022, with 63 teams submitting ideas for innovative breakthrough solutions to tackle poverty in the country.