The Singapore Prize is the biennial literary award of the Singapore Book Council, and a major recognition for writers in Singapore. Established in 1992, the prize is awarded to a selection of the best Singapore-based novels, short stories, poetry and children’s literature published in the previous year.
The winners of this year’s singapore prize were announced on Saturday, August 25. In total, 12 titles were voted on by the public for their literary excellence.
First-time winners include: Alllkunilaa (Azhagunila), innnpaa (Inbha), Jee Leong Koh, rmaa cureess (Rama Suresh), Suratman Markasan, Wang Gungwu and Yeow Kai Chai. They were joined by a number of well-known poets, including the veteran Edwin Thumboo, who received the SBC Achievement Award at the awards ceremony.
Despite having its own national award, the Singapore Literature Prize has long been seen as an international competition. This year, 192 submissions were made to the judging panel from authors across Asia.
There are three main categories – English fiction, non-fiction and poetry. This year, the finalists were Cyril Wong’s This Side Of Heaven, Daryl Qilin Yam’s Shantih Shantih Shantih, Mallika Naguran’s She Never Looks Quite Back and Jee Leong Koh’s Snow At 5pm: Translations of an Insignificant Japanese Poet.
In the non-fiction category, the winner was Singapore And The Silk Road Of The Sea: 1300-1800 by John N. Miksic, a historian who has written on a variety of aspects of Singapore’s history and culture. The runner-up was a history of the Singaporean Police Force, by Dr. Kishore Mahbubani, a former head of the department of history at NUS.
The award, which is open to both Singaporeans and non-Singaporeans, carries a cash prize of $3,000 per winning entry. Moreover, each winner will receive a trophy and a gift code for the audiobook platform Storytel.
While many of this year’s entries were published by local publishers, a few were also produced overseas. For example, an English-language version of the novel Connor & Seal by New York-based writer Jee Leong Koh was selected as a shortlist entry.
Other contenders included Daryl Lim Wei Jie’s Anything But Human, Mok Zining’s The Orchid Folios and Pooja Nansi’s We Make Spaces Divine. A third book, One To The Dark Tower Comes by former director of the Singapore Writers Festival, Yeow Kai Chai was also shortlisted.
Several other finalists were also recognised by the judging panel, with a wide range of genres represented. In addition to the winners, the judges also commended:
A UK-based team has won PS7.4 million in a video game tournament in Singapore. This is the biggest winning prize of its kind in the region, and it comes after a series of other high-profile prizes won by local teams.
The team, known as Tundra Esports, beat a group of European players in the defense of the ancients 2 combat game, and the money is believed to be raised by fans who watched the match live online.
These finalists have already won prizes at local and regional levels, but this is the biggest of their careers so far. The prestigious prize will be presented to the winners at an awards ceremony in Singapore on August 25.