The NUS Singapore Prize 2019 Shortlist

The Prize, worth S$50,000, recognizes non-fiction books which have had a substantial effect on our understanding of Singapore history. Books may cover any period, theme or field within Singaporean history; creative works with historical themes published as book-length works will also be eligible.

The NUS Singapore Prize is administered by the university’s department of history. Established to increase public engagement with Singapore’s past and foster debate about its place in the world, this prize primarily targets non-academic audiences and was inspired by an article written by Professor Kishore Mahbubani for The Straits Times newspaper in which he stated that Singaporean history wasn’t widely accessible.

This year’s shortlist features six entries from different fields. These range from historical works like Seven Hundred Years: A History Of Singapore by Kwa Chong Guan, Tan Tai Yong and Peter Borschberg to personal narrative fiction such as Hidayah Amin’s Leluhur: The Stories of Kampong Glam. Both works transcend notions that history only records important people; instead revealing everyday lives through artful narrative.

State Of Emergency by Jeremy Tiang (2017, available here) follows an extended family through leftist political movements and detentions; Sembawang by Kamaladevi Aravindan (2020, available here) examines the roots of modern Singaporean Malay cuisine; Imperial Creatures by Timothy P. Barnard’s (2019; available here), exploring human/animal interactions in colonial Singapore is also shortlisted and finalist for British Society for History of Science Hughes Prize.

Prince William took note of the event’s sustainability theme by donning an Alexander McQueen dark green blazer that was 10 years old during its co-hosting by US actress Hannah Waddingham and South African actor Mbatha Moya. Additionally, bands One Republic and Bastille as well as US singer Bebe Rexha performed for its glittery ceremony.

Earthshot Prize’s finalists will showcase their innovative projects ranging from solar energy to water security at events during an Earthshot Week to be held in Singapore beginning next month. In addition, they will meet with leaders and businesspeople from the philanthropic community and discuss ways they can accelerate efforts to combat climate change. Winners may receive up to $50,000 from NUS Singapore Trust as seed money to expand and scale innovations that target environmental problems; this grant fund managed by NUS is supported by government matched donations totaling S$500,000; moreover, over $1.5 Million has already been granted from this award to projects that target issues impacting Southeast Asian communities!