The Singapore Prize is an biennial award that honors outstanding published works written in any of Singapore’s four official languages: Chinese, English, Malay or Tamil. Winners are honored across 12 categories in fiction, non-fiction and poetry writing – administered by National Book Development Council Singapore.
The 2024 prize was established through an endowed donation from Confucian scholar and businessman Alan Chan. This award acknowledges books that highlight mindsets and values integral to shaping Singapore, such as equality, diversity, religious harmony, meritocracy, pragmatism as well as an emphasis on education, innovation and community involvement.
Singaporean authors or co-authors who make an important contribution to our understanding of Singapore’s history and its impact on its citizens’ lives and identities must produce works which make significant advances towards understanding it. Such works may cover any time period, theme, or field within Singaporean history containing considerable primary research that changes how we perceive Singapore’s past.
Leluhur: Singapore Kampong Gelam by archaeologist and historian Hidayah Ibrahim earned praise for its combination of historical sources with personal inputs as well as its elegantly constructed, in-depth narrative structure. As such, it won the 2021 NUS Singapore History Prize.
Ms Ibrahim’s second book, Home is Where We Are, won the Singapore Literature Prize this year – Singapore’s premier literary award presented by the National Book Development Council and awarded for novels or short stories written in any of Singapore’s four official languages: Chinese, English, Malay or Tamil.
Ms Hidayah, an associate professor of history at University of California Berkeley who specialises in Asian history, said her win represented proof that anyone with an interest in Singaporean history could write their own book and add their voice to discussions around Singapore.
In addition to receiving monetary awards, winners of the Singapore Prize also receive other recognition such as a commemorative plaque and tour of Harvard Museum of Natural History in Cambridge Massachusetts. All finalists are listed on the Singapore Prize website here.
Apart from the Singapore Prize, other competitions exist that recognize writers in Singapore. One such competition is the Singapore Young Authors Festival; this festival honors creative efforts made by students writing novels or short stories worthy of praise, with winners participating in seminars, workshops, or public readings as a reward.
The Vogue Singapore x BMW Innovation Prize is an initiative launched by fashion brand and media company Vogue Singapore to assist upcoming ASEAN fashion entrepreneurs who wish to push the limits in their respective industry. It provides a unique platform for visionaries from this generation of entrepreneurs by equipping them with world-class support in form of mentorship, financial assistance and industry insights – as well as accessing global expertise for business development, digital innovation design etc which may help shape their visions of fashion’s future.