A new Singapore prize has been launched to recognise the efforts of individuals and organisations in overcoming barriers and making a difference to society. The president’s volunteerism and philanthropy awards received a record 315 nominations this year, with projects focusing on improving lives in the areas of racial and religious harmony, helping at-risk youth, providing employment opportunities and supporting mental health.
The winners in the 12 categories will receive a cash prize of $3,000. Each winner will also be given a hand-crafted trophy and a 12-month gift code to audiobook platform StoryTel.
Four writers beat out their competition to claim the Readers’ Favourite prizes, with Ali bin Salim taking home the Muslim Readers’ Choice award for his memoir The Land Where We Come From, Daryl Qilin Yam winning for the Chinese-language book I Am Not My Mother, Wang Gungwu clinching the Chinese fiction prize for Seven Hundred Years of History Of A Small Nation and rma cureess (Rama Suresh) winning in the Tamil category.
This year’s Singapore Literature Prize also included a new category for unpublished authors called the Deborah Rogers Writers’ Award. The inaugural award saw writer Sharlene Wen-Ning Teo win for her debut novel Ponti, which Ian McEwan praised as “a remarkable first novel in the making”.
Professor Miksic was among the judges for the 2021 NUS Singapore History Prize, which went to Ms Hidayah Mohammad for her book Leluhur: A History Of Kampong Glam. He said that the winner deserved the prize for her work, which was both a synthesis of history and also a primary source book. He added that the prize was an indication that anyone who lived through a proportion of their life in Singapore has the potential to be a historian.
Ms Hidayah said that she was “honoured and humbled” to be a part of the prize and that it was an affirmation that ordinary Singaporeans had important stories to tell. She also noted that the prize is an encouragement to those who may have concerns about writing about the past.
The winners of the inaugural Earthshot prize will also be invited to visit Singapore in November for a series of events during the new Earthshot Week. These will bring together global leaders, businesses and investors to explore exciting opportunities in collaboration with the prize winners and finalists. There will also be local activations for the public to participate in.
Other winners included a non-profit organisation, commercial cleaning firm and a charity that provides sex education for women. Melissa Kwee, chief executive of NVPC, which administers the awards, said that the finalists were selected for their determination and perseverance in the face of challenges. “They are a testament to the fact that giving back is in our DNA,” she added. The full list of winners can be found here.