Singapore Prize and NUS History Prize

Singapore Prize and NUS History Prize

In the past few years, Singapore has emerged as a global benchmark for Smart Nation solutions deployment. The city-state is now renowned for its digital solutions that are being used across many sectors, from dynamic public bus routing algorithms to real-time parent-teacher portals and predictive analytics for water pipe leaks. The country’s emergence as a leader in the global marketplace has helped propel it to the number one spot on this year’s Intelligent Cities Index.

Singapore has a long history of supporting creativity and literary talent, with the biennial Singapore Literature Prize conferring awards in Chinese, English, Malay, and Tamil every other year in categories that include fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, comics/graphic novels, and translation. The prizes aim to promote the development of Singapore literary talent, enhance public interest in Singapore literature, and encourage the reading habits of Singaporeans.

This year, the winners of the Singapore Prize were announced at a program in National Trades Union Congress Centre’s Stephen Riady Auditorium, with the ceremony marking the first time it was open to the public. The competition has 12 award categories spanning four languages, and the judges included writers, translators, scholars, and academics. The top ten winning entries received 10,000 Singapore dollars, while the three merits and five commendations each garnered 5,000.

To commemorate this year’s theme of Sustainability in the Built Environment, presenters including actor William Yen and actress Mbatha opted to wear sustainable outfits for the show. Yen wore a dark green suit from 10-years ago, while McCartney wore an Alexander McQueen dress made from recycled material. The event was also broadcast via live stream on Facebook, which contributed to the low energy use of the venue.

The NUS History Prize, which was inaugurated in 2014, is awarded to books on the history of Singapore. NUS Asia Research Institute distinguished fellow Kishore Mahbubani, who mooted the idea for the prize in an opinion column in The Straits Times in April 2014, said that it was “important to recognise that nations are imaginated communities, and that history is a crucial glue holding them together.”

In an interview with Publishing Perspectives, NUS’s Phuan Pang, who was a judge this year, noted that a good book has a “fascinating narrative” that captivates readers and takes them on a journey. He added that he liked that the NUS History Prize was an opportunity for writers to explore different styles and genres. He would also like to see the type of works that qualify for the prize expanded to include movies, as well as other formats. Mahbubani concurred, citing the movie 12 Years a Slave as an example of how history can sometimes be told more effectively through other media than just written books.