The Singapore Prize – Celebrating the Spirit of Singapore

The singapore prize is one of the nation’s oldest literary prizes. It honours exceptional published works that have made a significant contribution towards reading promotion in Singapore. This is a major goal of the government’s arts council, which also seeks to enrich our cultural heritage and foster lifelong readers through this award.

A renowned crime author and former judge was named this year’s winner of the 2021 singapore prize. Vincent Tong’s book on Sam Hua, a notorious gangster responsible for numerous killings in the 1980s, was praised by judges for its “compelling narrative” and deep research.

This year, the prize has been renamed the sgp’spirit of singapore’ book prize in recognition of its new focus on celebrating the spirit of Singapore. It is awarded annually to an outstanding publication that has made a lasting impact on Singaporeans’ understanding of the nation’s history. The award is administered by the Department of History at NUS.

In the past, the prize has celebrated a range of different genres and topics. The sgp’spirit’ of singapore’ book prize has been presented to works such as a biography on a revered war hero and an exploration of the city’s history through architecture.

The prize’s inaugural year saw the first win for a work on Singapore’s history, with NUS historian Prof John Miksic winning for his book Singapore And The Silk Road Of The Sea, 1300-1800. The book synthesised 25 years of archaeological research and offered a fundamental reinterpretation of the nation’s history, including its early place in Southeast Asia.

Miksic’s book was chosen as the best by a panel of four judges chaired by 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. He said then that the prize would allow Singapore’s established philanthropic community to join forces with sector thought leaders in neighbouring geographies to turbocharge the region’s leading-edge practice in philanthropy.

This year’s ceremony will feature special events highlighting the winners and finalists, with the help of celebrities such as Oscar winner Cate Blanchett and actors Donnie Yen, Lana Condor and Nomzano Mbatha. Britain’s Prince William, who founded the Earthshot Prize and was at Tuesday’s awards ceremony in Singapore, says that the solutions presented by this year’s finalists offer hope as global warming impacts are felt. He is to visit the finalists later this month as part of a special series of events and summits. He will meet the scientists and entrepreneurs behind projects ranging from solar-powered dryers to fight food waste to making electric car batteries cleaner. The event is part of a new ‘Earthshot Week’ that begins Monday. The summits will be open to the public.