The Singapore Prize 2019
Singapore prize is a biennial award in Singapore that recognises the work of writers from the country’s four official languages: Chinese, English, Malay and Tamil. The award honours published works of fiction, non-fiction and poetry in Chinese, English, Malay or Tamil. The winner is crowned with the Singapore prize, which has a value of $100,000. The runner-up receives $10,000.
The winner is a leader in their field, who is recognised for their contributions to society through their work. They will be the face of the Singapore prize, which will be presented at a ceremony that takes place as part of Earthshot Week. The event will showcase how Singapore is at the forefront of innovation and entrepreneurship, even as it grapples with significant environmental challenges. It will also highlight the role that citizens play in preserving and protecting our planet, through volunteering, community engagement and civic leadership.
Among the shortlisted works this year are historical tomes with a personal slant, such as Leluhur: Singapore’s Kampong Gelam (2019, available here) by Hidayah Amin, which shines a light on a neighbourhood many now know only as a tourist attraction. Another is Kamaladevi Aravindan’s novel Sembawang, which describes life in a suburban estate over five decades. These books offer a welcome alternative to the traditional view of history as a record of big movers and shakers.
This year’s competition was launched at the National University of Singapore (NUS) in June and received more than 600 nominations from across the country. The judges include philanthropists, academics, social entrepreneurs and policymakers. They crowned Team Empowered Families Initiative (EFI) the grand winner for their developmental initiative that invests in low-income families’ aspirations and plans to improve their lives.
For the first time, a new category was added for “the individual who, through his or her commitment to the greater good, has demonstrated exceptional altruism and compassion.” The winner of this prize will be awarded with a S$200,000 cash prize, a S$10,000 scholarship for an undergraduate degree programme at NUS, and a S$20,000 grant for an innovative project that addresses the needs of underserved communities in Singapore. The other finalists will receive S$10,000 each, plus a S$20,000 grant to fund an innovative project.
The Pengeluaran sgp is a collaboration between the National University of Singapore and Bloomberg. The judging panel is made up of individuals with diverse backgrounds, including business leaders, academics and journalists. The winners will be announced at a ceremony in November in Singapore.
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