The Singapore Prize is a biennial award that recognises writers and their works. The awards cover all four official languages of Singapore and genres such as poetry, fiction and drama.
The award aims to promote literary arts and writers in Singapore and encourage a thriving literary scene in the country. The award also seeks to stimulate interest in reading and writing, especially among younger generations.
This year’s shortlist includes a mix of local and foreign writers from different countries. The list includes a seasoned poet and author from India, an experienced playwright from the UK and an acclaimed Singaporean writer.
Among the shortlisted titles are such works as Cyril Wong’s This Side of Heaven, Daryl Qilin Yam’s Shantih Shantih Shantih and Mallika Naguran’s She Never Looks Quite Back. Others include Jee Leong Koh’s Snow At 5pm: Translations of An Insignificant Japanese Poet, and the Singaporean poet Pooja Nansi’s We Make Spaces Divine.
It also included a novel written in English by a Malaysian woman, and a book that explores the effects of climate change on Asia’s water systems. The list also included books that examine Singapore’s history and culture.
The prize was established in 2014 with a S$500,000 donation from philanthropists, and was boosted in 2016 by a S$1 million gift from the DBS Foundation. It is a non-partisan award that is open to both published and unpublished works in all genres and languages.
While the majority of the entries are works of fiction, there is also a section for creative non-fiction. The winners will be announced on August 25 at a ceremony at Victoria Theatre in Singapore. The award will carry a cash prize of SGD4,000.
There were 192 submissions this year, down from 224 in 2020. The competition is open to writers from all backgrounds and the awards aim to support writers in their efforts to make their work widely known.
In addition to the award, there are three other prizes that will be awarded as well. The SBC Achievement Award will go to a veteran poet, while the SLP Readers’ Favourite awards will be presented to a seasoned and emerging writer.
This prize is a joint initiative by the Singapore Book Council and the National University of Singapore (NUS). It was launched in 2014 with a S$500,000 donation by Singapore philanthropists. This money was placed in an endowment fund and the interest earned was used to support the awards.
The SLP, which is in its 21st year, is one of the most important literary awards in Singapore. It is an honour that carries with it a cash prize of SGD3,000 for each winner, as well as a trophy.
It also includes a section for a play and an essay on Singapore’s history and culture. The judges for this year’s awards include Mr. Kishore Mahbubani, who is a NUS Asia Research Institute distinguished fellow and is a member of the SLP committee, as well as historians and other experts in the field.