A new prize for books that focus on Singapore history has been launched to spur interest in the country’s unique and complex history. The NUS Singapore History Prize aims to make the subject more accessible to non-academic audiences and to help people understand their own past.
This year’s prize will be awarded to a work of history that makes significant contributions to our understanding of the nation’s past and its place in the world. It will be given to a book published between January 2017 and November 2020, with the winners based on an academic assessment of the merits of their entries.
The prize was created in response to an opinion column by Prof Mahbubani in the Straits Times in April 2014, where he suggested that philanthropists could offer cash prizes for a collection of the best history books written on Singapore. An anonymous donor offered S$500,000 to create the prize, which will be administered by NUS.
Its winner will receive a premium prize of at least $2 million. The prize money can be spent on a wide variety of things, including housing, education and healthcare, but it cannot be used to fund gambling activities. The prize is not part of the National Lottery, and the odds of winning are one in eleven. In addition to the premium prize, there are also supplementary prizes and bonuses such as extra raffle tickets.
More than 4,000 readers voted for their favourite shortlisted works in this round of consumer choice voting, nearly twice as many as in the previous round. The four winners of the “readers’ favorite” award—Ali bin Salim, Daryl Qilin Yam, Pan Zheng Lei (Pan Cheng Lui) and rma cureess—each received a cash prize worth 1,000 Singapore dollars (US$719) and book-purchase vouchers.
Another book that has drawn the attention of consumers is Seven Hundred Years: A History Of Singapore, which focuses on life in the city-state and forgoes the traditional view of history as the record of big movers and shakers. Other contenders include Hidayah Amin’s Leluhur: A History Of Kampong Gelam, which charts changes to the neighbourhood, and Kamaladevi Aravindan’s novel Sembawang.
Britain’s Prince William teased the destination for this year’s Earthshot prize ceremony on Twitter yesterday, writing, ‘Where’s The #EarthshotPrize heading to in 2023?’ He later confirmed that he and his wife, Camilla, will travel to Singapore in November for the event. The prize, which was founded in 2020, is aimed at supporting projects aiming to protect the planet. The prize’s chief executive, Hannah Jones, told the Straits Times that protecting oceans and nature is crucial but it must be done in a way that brings economic prosperity to coastal communities. The awards ceremony will also feature performances by global artists. More information is available here.