The winners of this year’s Singapore Prize – the country’s most prestigious literary award for a published book – were unveiled at a ceremony that featured a green carpet and a performance by singer-songwriter Mbatha. Actor Hannah Waddingham acted as master of ceremonies for the event, which was held at the theatre in state-owned Media Corp of Singapore. Prince William, who is the chair of the awards’ board, wore a dark green suit by Alexander McQueen. During the ceremony, the royal couple also presented a special award to five companies that are amplifying solutions to climate change. They were awarded a prize of $1 million to help them scale their business, as well as other support. The five companies — including a lithium-ion battery recycler and a program to end illegal fishing — were chosen from over 150 applications.
The 2024 Singapore Literature Prize (SLP) now includes a category for translators and a new Best Debut award for debut authors. In addition, SLP organisers announced the creation of a new category for comic and graphic novels written by Singaporean creators. This is the first time a work of that genre has been nominated for an SLP. The 2024 winner will be selected by a jury comprising NUS Asia Research Institute distinguished fellow Kishore Mahbubani, archaeologist John Miksic, novelist Meira Chand, economist Lam San Ling, and historian Peter Coclanis.
This year’s SLP also saw the return of the Readers’ Favourite award, whose winners were decided by public votes. The winners are announced during a ceremony that takes place alongside the Inside World Festival of Interiors. The winners will receive both a cash prize and an engraved trophy.
The finalists for this year’s SLP were announced in July, and include the book Seven Hundred Years of Singapore by Marylyn Tan; Sembawang by Kamaladevi Aravindan; State Of Emergency by Jeremy Tiang; and Home Is Where We Are by Ms Hidayah Ibrahim. A finalist for the NUS Singapore History Prize, Ms Hidayah’s book explores life in Kampong Glam – a neighbourhood that she grew up in – and spent several years researching it. The inaugural NUS Singapore History Prize was won by Mr Miksic for his work on Singapore And The Silk Road Of The Sea, 1300 – 1800.
The other finalists are Imperial Creatures by Timothy P. Barnard, a work that investigates the relationship between humans and animals in colonial Singapore; and Home Is Where We Are by rma cureess, a book in Tamil that explores everyday life in modern-day Singapore. The NUS Singapore History Prize was created in 2014 and aims to broaden definitions of what constitutes history by inviting writing that covers multiple perspectives and themes. It is awarded every three years.