The Singapore Prize and Dreams Asia Breakthrough Prizes
The Singapore Prize is an annual book award given by the Singapore Book Publishers Association to honour writers and works of literary merit. The award spans various categories, including fiction and non-fiction titles written in any of the four official languages: English, Chinese, Malay, and Tamil. Additionally, translated works are also eligible for consideration. The Singapore Prize is awarded to a work of literature or nonfiction that best epitomizes, inspires and promotes the Spirit of Singapore.
The winner of the inaugural Singapore prize will receive a cash prize of SGD $500,000. The prize was established through a gift from the late Dr Alan HJ Chan, whose aim is to celebrate works that best epitomize, inspire and promote the spirit of Singapore.
This year’s shortlisted books explore a wide range of topics, from the history of an estate to the politics of detention. A Singaporean novel traces the lives of an extended family through leftist movements, while another examines the impact of social media on ordinary citizens. Other works look at the history of sarong kebaya, the Singapore Botanic Gardens, and the Bukit Ho Swee fire.
NUS Asia Research Institute distinguished fellow Kishore Mahbubani was part of the panel that decided on the first prize winner for this new award. The idea came from an opinion column he wrote in April 2014, calling for local philanthropists to donate a cash prize to recognise the best historical writing on Singapore. One reader responded with a generous offer of S$500,000, to be placed in an endowment fund that would generate interest and support the Singapore Prize.
A number of other events rounded out the Singapore book week, which was held from November 30 to December 2. The final round of the 2022 Singapore International Violin Competition saw Ukrainian violinist Dmytro Udovychenko win first prize, with Danish violinist Anna Agafia Egholm coming in second and Hong Kong/Chinese violinist Angela Sin Ying Chan taking third place.
The inaugural Dreams Asia Breakthrough Prize ceremony was held on May 4, 2023 at the Parkroyal Collection Pickering. The competition was launched in May with 63 teams submitting innovative breakthrough solutions for alleviating poverty in Singapore. The top five teams were awarded a share of the $500,000 grand prize, with the winning team receiving the most funding. The other teams received cash prizes and mentorships to bring their ideas to life. The event was hosted by CNN’s Asia Pacific editor-at-large, Fredrick Wong. Guests included Singapore’s Minister for Community Development and Youth, Tan Chuan-Jin, who congratulated the winning teams on their achievements. He also expressed his hopes that the competition would encourage more people to join the fight against poverty in their own communities. The event was broadcast to a global audience. More than a dozen partners have helped to sponsor the prize, which is funded by private donations and grants from companies and organizations. The winning teams will be showcased at a series of public engagements this year.