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The Singapore Prize and Other Literature Awards

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The Singapore prize is one of the country’s top literary awards that recognises writers and works of literary merit. The award is open to both fiction and non-fiction, with an emphasis on books that champion mindsets and values that have contributed to the shaping of Singapore. These include equality, diversity, religious harmony, meritocracy and pragmatism. It is a joint initiative by the National Book Council and a consortium of organisations including Temasek Trust, decarbonisation investment platform GenZero, non-profit environmental organisation Conservation International and Standard Chartered Bank.

The prize is awarded annually and is worth more than US$1 million. It is intended to act as a propeller to help the winners accelerate their plans and implement them on a larger scale. In the past, winners of the prize have incorporated a range of technologies to combat climate change, from solar photovoltaics and batteries to carbon capture and storage. They have also sought to improve air quality and address waste management.

Aside from its monetary value, the prize also carries prestige that can help boost a winner’s profile and career. The prize will be presented at a special event in November, and there will be performances by internationally renowned artists and musicians, Ms Jones said.

She added that the Singapore prize aims to encourage young people, who are “at the heart” of what the award is about. Many young people are grappling with climate anxiety, she said, and the prize aims to give them a sense of “confidence that they can make a difference.”

Another notable recent addition is the Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize, which was awarded to Vienna in 2022. The award is given every two years to cities that contribute towards creating liveable and sustainable urban communities. The ceremony was delayed this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The NUS Singapore History Prize is another important accolade that recognises work that engages with Singapore’s unique history. Its remit is broad, and it aims to make the complexities and nuances of Singapore’s history more accessible to the public. This will help to create a more informed public about the city-state’s place in the world.

The inaugural Dr Alan HJ Chan Spirit of Singapore Book Prize was launched on April 18. It is the largest pot ever awarded for a book prize in Singapore, with the winning author receiving a cash prize of $30,000 and a trophy. Established through a donation from Confucian scholar Alan Chan, the prize aims to promote writing on the themes and values of Singapore. The judging panel of this year’s contest included academic Khoo Gaik Cheng, filmmaker Lucky Kuswandi and artist Tuan Andrew Nguyen.