Archaeologist John Miksic conducted his initial excavation at Fort Canning in 1984 and came away with glass shards and pottery indicating settlement had existed here for over 700 years, long before Sir Stamford Raffles came ashore in 1819. These findings, later published in his 491-page tome Singapore and the Silk Road of the Sea, 1300-1800 won him this year’s inaugural Singapore Prize – its jury described his book as providing an “essential reinterpretation of Singapore’s early history.”
Kishore Mahbubani of NUS Asia Research Institute established this year’s prize. Citing American social scientist Benedict Anderson’s notion that nations are imagined communities sharing an overarching narrative, Kishore nominated 31 books submitted by publishers for consideration by his nominating committee, which comprises Associate Professor Ian Gordon of NUS Department of History; Assistant Professor Seng Guo Quan; educator Beatrice Chong and curator Suhaili Osman.
Mahbubani, co-chairing the jury with Miksic, commented: “Together we celebrate Singapore’s rich legacy of history writing. It is crucial that we not only remember but also share stories of our collective past.”
To be eligible, books written in English that feature significant Singapore elements must have been published by an established publisher between 2021-2022 and be available for sale or distribution – self-published works do not qualify. Also eligible are fiction or nonfiction works written about Singapore.
The winner receives S$200,000, a trophy and publishing contract with Epigram Books as part of this award backed by NUS and Singapore Book Council in its fourth edition; previously sponsored by an individual philanthropist with a smaller prize pool amounting to S$25,000.
Prince William of Britain will visit Singapore this week to support 15 finalists of his Earthshot Prize competition, launched by his charity in 2020 to showcase innovative solutions to tackle climate change and protect our environment. These 15 contestants hailing from six continents will compete across five categories including nature protection, clean air, ocean revival, waste elimination and climate change with winners announced Tuesday morning.
William will travel to Singapore via commercial rather than private flight and measures will be put into place to make his visit as environmentally-friendly as possible, according to organizers. Additionally, he plans on meeting locals, visiting culturally significant sites and taking part in a United for Wildlife Summit that brings together law enforcement and conservation groups who fight illegal wildlife trade globally.
George will meet President Tharman Shanmugaratnam and attend a ceremony at The Istana palace, one of Malaysia’s oldest heritage structures. Kate won’t accompany George on this four-day visit, however; she must assist their eldest son George with his first set of major school exams instead. George and Kate will return to Britain together on Wednesday.