Singapore Prize Winners Announced

singapore prize

The annual Singapore prize honours works that epitomize, inspire and promote the spirit of this city-state. This year, a record number of 491 entries were submitted, with the shortlisted books ranging from fiction to nonfiction and even poetry. The winners were announced last night at a ceremony hosted by National Arts Council chief executive Lawrence Wong and Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Edwin Tong. The event was also a chance to recognise 344 philanthropists for their contributions to the arts scene.

The winning books include the historical book Singapore and the Silk Road of the Sea, 1300-1800” by archaeologist John Miksic, which was awarded the Singapore history prize. It provides “a fundamental reinterpretation of Singapore’s place in Asia”, said Prof Kishore Mahbubani, one of the judges of this year’s prize.

This book, which has just been released, reveals the findings of excavations at the historic Fort Canning site and other sites in Singapore, revealing glass shards, bronze bowls, coins, pottery and other artefacts from the Yuan dynasty that suggest a Singapore-like settlement existed more than 700 years ago — two centuries before Sir Stamford Raffles set foot here in 1819. It also argues that bits of historical information in literary records, including references to places like Temasek and Longyamen, were probably in reference to the island.

Besides the top winner, Ali Bin Salim: An Untold Story by Salim Ibrahim and other books in the history category, a book on Singapore’s architecture by architect Kwee Lin Khoo and a memoir by former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew’s widow Yvonne Lee were also among the winners of this year’s prizes. They each received a cash prize of S$30,000 and other perks.

In the nonfiction category, the award went to the biography The Woman Who Loved Dogs and Cats” by Jo Tan. The other shortlisted books in this category were Pretend I’m Not Here” by poet Jee Leong Koh, a memoir by writer Raymond Wang and a collection of essays by novelist Balli Kaur Jaswal.

The inaugural Dreams Asia Breakthrough Prize ceremony was held on May 4, 2023 at the Parkroyal Collection Pickering. It saw 63 teams pitch their innovative breakthrough solutions to alleviating poverty in Singapore. The five top winners each received S$1 million to scale their solutions, which are backed by the founding partners of the prize: philanthropic foundation The Temasek Trust, investment firm Temasek and decarbonisation investment platform GenZero. They will attend a conference in Singapore this November, where they will be joined by global leaders, business and investors and feature performances by musicians.