The Singapore prize is a biennial award in the city-state that recognises outstanding published works of fiction, non-fiction and poetry by Singaporean authors in Chinese, English and Malay. The prize was established in 2014 by an endowment by an anonymous donor. The winner of the prize will receive $50,000 Singapore dollars (US$32,700) in cash. The prize is administered by the National Book Development Council of Singapore. The winner is chosen by a panel of judges, and the winning work is publicly announced at an awards ceremony held every three years.
In the past, the prize has also awarded literary work in Malay and Tamil, but since 2016, only English has been offered as an option. As the prize grows in popularity, it has been the subject of controversy. In 2018, the award was the focus of a social media debate over whether its winners reflect the diversity of Singapore.
The Singapore Prize also honours innovative and entrepreneurial enterprises in the fields of science, technology and innovation. Previous winners have included Claudia Poh, whose fashion collection bridged the gap between form and function for people with mobility challenges, as well as the team behind sail-based business ProjectX, which cultivates lab-grown exotic skins to address the industry’s reliance on rare animal hides.
Several other innovations have been recognised by the Singapore Prize over the years, including a biomedical device to help treat spinal cord injuries, a computer-aided design tool for architects and engineers, and a drone platform designed to assist in disaster relief efforts. In 2023, the prize will recognise the first-ever Southeast Asian winner of the Earthshot Prize, a US$1 million award that recognises entrepreneurs working to solve climate change.
In addition to the cash prize, the winner will receive a trip to Formula 1 in 2023, flying economy class from one of Singapore Airline’s gateway cities to the grandstand at Marina Bay Street Circuit. Runner-ups will each receive two tickets to the Singapore Grand Prix.
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