The Singapore prize is a biennial award that recognises outstanding published works by Singapore authors in any of the country’s four official languages: Chinese, English, Malay and Tamil. The prize is sponsored by the National Book Development Council of Singapore and funded by the government.
The 2022 edition marked the return of the Singapore Literature Prize to a physical format, and for the first time offered 12 top prizes of up to $10,000 each for fiction, non-fiction and poetry in Chinese, English, Malay, and Tamil. Previously, the award only had one category where fiction competed with poetry.
This year, the shortlist also includes a work of history with a personal slant. Leluhur: Singapore’s Kampong Glam by Hidayah Amin takes readers on a journey through the city’s historic neighbourhood, and highlights the lives of its residents in the 1960s, when “the future seemed up for grabs.”
Other finalists are a memoir by a mother-daughter pair that chronicles their experience growing up during the Asian financial crisis and the subsequent fallout, and a novel about a young man’s struggle to reconcile his homosexuality with his Buddhist beliefs. The prestigious awards ceremony will be held at the Victoria Theatre in central Singapore tonight.
In addition to the main award, the festival will host three other categories including a film competition, and an audience choice winner, each of which comes with a cash prize of $3,000. Jury special mentions will be chosen for both short films and feature length documentaries. The festival will also include workshops and talks with the directors of the winning films, and a panel discussion with industry experts.
The festival is free and open to the public, but bookings are required. To reserve your seat, head to the website here.
A new $30,000 book prize has been launched to recognise local writers and publishers, the richest pot for a Singapore literary award. The inaugural Dr Alan HJ Chan Spirit of Singapore Book Prize is the result of a $1 million donation from Confucian scholar and businessman Alan Chan, and is supported by the University of Social Sciences (SUSS). It aims to promote the writing of books that champion mindsets and values important to Singapore’s shaping, with equality, diversity, religious harmony, meritocracy, pragmatism and resilience among them. It was launched on April 18.