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2023 Singapore Prize Winners Announced

Organizers of the 2023 Singapore prize say it is a chance to celebrate “the resiliency and innovation that Singapore has shown as one of the world’s most affected regions by climate change, but also as a hub of innovators, entrepreneurs and leaders committed to restoring our planet.” The winner will receive GBP 1 million (approximately USD 1.25 million or SGD 1.7 million), which will act as a propeller for them to accelerate their innovations. They will be invited to Singapore for a week of networking and events as part of the Earthshot Festival.

In addition to the main prizes, this year’s winners received a commissioned trophy and a 12-month gift code to audiobook platform Storytel. More than half of this year’s 12 winners were shortlisted for the first time, with 91-year-old Suratman Markasan winning Malay fiction, Wang Gungwu taking English creative nonfiction and rma cureess (Rama Suresh) taking Tamil fiction and readers’ favorite.

The first prize in the competition, called the Readers’ Favourite award, was decided by public vote. This year, more than 4,000 people voted in the category, double the number of voters in last year’s contest. The four winners of the reader’s choice awards — Ali bin Salim, Daryl Qilin Yam, Pan Zheng Lei and rma cureess — each received 1,000 Singapore dollars (US$719).

Other winners include Jee Leong Koh for her English poetry collection Snow At 5pm: Translations Of An Insignificant Japanese Poet, and Clara Chow for her Chinese poetry book Pretend I’m Not Here. The prize, created in 1992, is open to writers from all over the world. Its theme this year is resonance, which organisers say reflects the current sense of heightened sensitivity to how literature evokes emotions and memories.

For the first time, the NUS Singapore History Prize is being held in conjunction with the main prize. The goal is to encourage engagement with Singapore history broadly understood to include works predating 1819 and those that look at the complexities of the nation’s past.

NUS Professor Kishore Mahbubani said he hoped the NUS Singapore History Prize would become a global benchmark for quality Singapore-themed publications. He said it was important to reach out to wider audiences through the Prize, which is also a vehicle for NUS to strengthen its ties with other universities and institutions in the region.

The NUS Singapore Prize is a biennial event administered by the NUS Department of History. Its main aim is to promote engagement with Singapore history and widen the scope of Singapore’s literary offerings. The prize carries a $50,000 cash prize and is open to both fiction and non-fiction works in any language. It is endorsed by the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth and supported by a number of other agencies. It is funded by a generous contribution from the Singapore Mathematical Society Gold Medal cum Book Prize. For more information, visit the NUS website. The deadline for nominations is 31 July 2023.

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