The Singapore Prize For Best Published Work by Citizens in Any of the Four Languages

The Singapore prize is a biennial award that recognises outstanding published works by citizens in any of the four official languages — Chinese, English, Malay and Tamil. It is open to all Singaporeans and includes categories for fiction, non-fiction and poetry in each of the four languages.

The winner of the award is determined by a jury from all of the participating institutions, with each having one vote. The finalists are shortlisted and announced in December, and the winner will be awarded on 17 March the following year. The award has a total of 12 top prizes, including a premium prize for the best work in each category.

This prize is the first of its kind to be devoted solely to the history of Singapore, and was introduced in 2014 as part of the SG50 programme to mark the nation’s 50th anniversary of independence. It is administered by the Department of History at NUS and is given out every three years.

Last year, the prize funded projects like a team from Oman that promised to eliminate billions of carbon dioxide by turning it into rock and a business in Kenya that crafts reliable stoves to reduce air pollution. This year’s prize is supported by philanthropic organisation Temasek Trust, investment company Temasek, decarbonisation investment platform GenZero and conservation charity Conservation International.

The prize is worth 16.5 OWGR points, which means the winner will get a two-plus-season exemption on the Tour and guaranteed berths in key events, among other standard perks. But it’s the prestige that will really have the most impact on the winner’s career and profile.

In announcing the award, the prince said that “Singapore is a global leader when it comes to solving the world’s biggest environmental challenges. That’s why I’m delighted to bring The Earthshot Prize here later this year,” he added, adding that the winners will be awarded up to £1 million.

The winning book is Leluhur: Singapore Kampong Gelam, a non-fiction work with a personal slant by Ms Hidayah. It explores how, from the 14th century to the 19th, Kampong Glam evolved into a cosmopolitan urban centre, connecting the island with the Malay archipelago and beyond through trading activities.

Ms Hidayah said the citation for her book is an affirmation that “ordinary people can write history books too, and not just professional historians”. She described her book as a synthesis and a primary source, with its use of personal inputs.

The NUS Singapore History Prize is worth $50,000 and is awarded in a three-year cycle. Its judging panel consists of scholars from the university and the wider community. There were 29 submissions this year. The NUS congratulates all the authors on their hard work and efforts.