The singapore prize is a book award that honours local writers. The award was started through a donation from Confucian scholar Alan Chan and aims to promote writing that champions mindsets and values important to Singapore. These include equality, diversity, religious harmony, meritocracy and pragmatism.
The first prize winner this year is a book called “Singapore and the Silk Road of the Sea, 1300-1800”, by archaeologist John Miksic. The book traces the city-state’s development from a trade port to an international trading powerhouse. It won over a shortlist of books including one about the history of the sarong kebaya, the Singapore Botanic Gardens and the Bukit Ho Swee fire.
Five winners were unveiled at a glittering ceremony Tuesday in Singapore for the third annual Earthshot prize, launched by Britain’s Prince William in 2020 in a bid to protect the planet from climate change. Actors Cate Blanchett, Donnie Yen and Lana Condor joined environmentalists Robert Irwin and wildlife conservationist Hannah Waddingham at the event, which was held in Asia for the first time. The prince said the solutions of all 15 finalists, which ranged from creating solar-powered dryers to combat food waste to making electric car batteries cleaner, were proof that hope remains despite the effects of global warming.
He added that he was especially delighted to be back in Singapore, a “great and vibrant city that is also a great place for business.” He was the only member of his family to attend the awards, with Kate Middleton staying at home in the UK to help their son Prince George prepare for his school exams.
During the event, the prince planted a tembusu sapling at the Jewel in memory of the late Queen Mother who visited Singapore in 1972. The tree is located at the centrepiece of a new outdoor garden. The prince tweeted a picture of the tree, saying it was “very special to mark this momentous occasion.”
Other winners included short films “Vania on Lima Street” by Bayu Prihantoro Filemon and “Further and Far Away” by Bopha Oul, which won best Southeast Asian short film and a cash prize of SGD5,000 by Filmgarde Cineplexes. The short film category was judged by academic Khoo Gaik Cheng, filmmaker Lucky Kuswandi and artist Tuan Andrew Nguyen.
Besides the main prize, the prize features a shortlist of 10 authors who will be awarded a S$3,000 grant and a trophy. The authors will also have the chance to join a mentoring programme with the award’s judges, including writer-publisher Epigram Books chief executive Tan Leong. This year, the prize will also recognise a runner-up for each of the categories, as well as an online Readers’ Favorite exercise in which readers can vote for their favorite shortlisted book. The winning author of the main prize will receive a certificate and a gold medallion, while the runners-up will be presented with a S$10,000 cheque by Keppel Corporation. The contest is open to all Singapore citizens and permanent residents.