The Singapore Prize and Earthshot Awards

singapore prize

The Singapore Prize honors outstanding authors whose works reflect values important to Singaporean society, such as equality, diversity, religious harmony, meritocracy and pragmatism with an emphasis on education, innovation and community development. Established in April with a $30,000 purse donated from Confucian scholar Alan Chan as its foundation.

This year’s shortlist features four debut writers in English and two each for Chinese, French and Arabic – two graphic novels by Jeremy Tiang’s Sembawang are on it, which follows an extended family through leftist political movements and detentions in the 1940s and 50s; another graphic novel has garnered worldwide praise for its historical research; three Eisner awards (known as the Oscars of comic books) have been won as well as Singapore Literature Prize’s 2018 Singapore Literature Prize that honors fiction and non-fiction works that reflect Singapore society.

John Miksic, an historian who participated in excavations at Fort Canning and Old Parliament House. His book Singapore and the Silk Road of the Sea published by NUS Press with the National Museum of Singapore chronicles both his experience as well as those of over 1,000 volunteers who assisted. Other finalists on this list are Nature’s Colony: Empire, Nation and Environment in Singapore Botanic Gardens by Timothy P Barnard and Squatters into Citizens: The 1961 Bukit Ho Swee Fire and its Contribution to Modern Singapore by Loh Kah Seng.

Since 2020, Prince William of Britain has founded and administered the Earthshot Prize as a way of rewarding companies that are helping tackle environmental challenges around the world. This year’s five winners — which include lithium-ion battery recyclers and programs working to end illegal fishing — each received $1.1 million cash prizes to scale their solutions further. Adding to its sustainability theme, awards ceremonies took place in Singapore — known for cutting-edge innovation and entrepreneurship.

Attended by several celebrities, including actors Sterling K. Brown and Hannah Waddingham as well as musicians One Republic and Bastille; actors Yen and Mbatha both donned vintage clothing; with Yen sporting a 10-year-old green suit by Alexander McQueen known for its eco-friendly fashion line.

Kishore Mahbubani, NUS University’s senior advisor for university and international relations, suggested the prize may eventually expand to encompass movies or even comic books as a medium for telling history more effectively. For instance, 12 Years a Slave helped many Americans better comprehend African-American slavery than any textbook ever could; Mahbubani believes Singapore history deserves similar treatment: “We want our citizens to gain a strong appreciation of their heritage.”