An Update on the Singapore Prize

Continuing with our look at the various awards-related news from 2022, this article features an update on the Singapore prize — the country’s premier literary award that is celebrating its 30th year. The prize’s theme this year is resonance, a word chosen to reflect the ways literature can trigger emotions and memories in readers. This is the first time in the prize’s history that the organizers have opted for such a focus.

The prize carries a purse of 3,000 Singapore dollars (US$2,160) and comes with a commissioned trophy. It is open to authors whose work has had a significant impact on the nation’s reading community, in terms of its scope and influence, as well as the way it contributes to national discourse. There is also a special mention for books that have inspired new generations to become writers.

Among the winners announced this year is American historian Prof Miksic for his book Leluhur: Singapore Kampong Gelam, which was published in 2013. Miksic came to Singapore in 1984 to conduct test excavations at Fort Canning, and has since been involved in archaeological projects at Empress Place and Old Parliament House. He said the prize was an affirmation that “you don’t have to be a professional historian to write about the past.”

Other winners include two firms from Asia, Hong Kong-based start-up GRST, which has developed a safer and cheaper way of making lithium-ion batteries for electric cars, and India’s S4S Technologies, which fights food waste by allowing small-hold farmers to preserve their harvests and turn produce that would otherwise be discarded into value-added products. Both companies will receive the SG50 Earthshot Prize, an annual award that was started by Britain’s Prince William last November to honour companies at the forefront of environmental innovation.

Meanwhile, 209 homegrown businesses ranging from heritage names to regional players were honoured at the 21st Singapore Prestige Brand Award (SPBA) ceremony on Wednesday evening. Healthcare provider StarMed Specialist Centre won the overall winner of the Promising Brands category, while suicide-prevention agency Samaritans of Singapore won the by-invitation Special Merit award.