The singapore prize is one of the prestigious awards in Singapore. It is given to writers who have written works that have significant influence on the public. It is awarded in the categories of fiction and nonfiction in Chinese, English and Malay. This year, the award has 12 top prizes of up to $10,000 each. The prize is supported by the National Book Council and is open to Singapore residents only.
The prize was established in 2014 to celebrate Singapore’s 50th anniversary of independence. The prize has been awarded to several historical works, including the SG50 programme’s flagship event, which commemorated Singapore’s progress and achievements over the past five decades. It is the first book prize devoted to Singapore’s history, and it honours those who have contributed to a deeper understanding of our country.
Earlier this year, the prize’s founder Kishore Mahbubani wrote in The Straits Times that a shared imagination of history is vital to a nation’s strength. He said that the prize aims to encourage a “deeper and more nuanced understanding of Singapore’s past, and how it might shape our future”.
This year’s shortlisted books range from an examination of the politics of detention, to the history of sarong kebaya, the Singapore Botanic Gardens and the Bukit Ho Swee fire. Another book looks at the social impact of online media. In addition, a novel by a Singaporean author tracks the lives of an extended family through leftist movements. The winner will be announced in October.
The prize has attracted a number of sponsors, including Temasek Trust, investment company Temasek, decarbonisation investment platform GenZero and non-profit environmental organisation Conservation International. Standard Chartered has joined them as a Founding Partner, and its support will be critical to the prize’s success, Mahbubani said.
During the inaugural year of the prize, it was awarded to two projects for its “exceptional design and contribution to the development of Singapore’s heritage and spirit.” The first was the Kampung Admiralty senior housing project, designed by WOHA Architects. It is built over two 11-story blocks and provides residents with a wide variety of amenities to foster intergenerational bonding, active aging and socialising. The project was also the winner of the Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize in July 2018. The second award went to WOHA Architects for their upcoming project, which is set to be the world’s most sustainable and liveable senior citizen housing development. It will provide a model for sustainable urban planning in the region and beyond. The project is due to be completed in 2022.