The NUS Prize for Literature and the NUS Prize for Literature

The NUS Singapore History Prize is an annual literary award given to a book that makes a significant contribution to the understanding of Singapore’s past. It is presented by the NUS Centre for Southeast Asian Studies. The 2021 winner, Leluhur: Singapore Kampong Gelam by historian Hidayah Salleh, received a cash prize of S$3,000 and an engraved trophy. The book was chosen by a jury led by NUS Asia Research Institute distinguished fellow Kishore Mahbubani, and comprising novelist Meira Chand; professor of history at the University of Michigan and author Lam San Ling; archaeologist Peter Coclanis; and historian and NUS Department of History faculty member John Miksic.

The NUS Prize was established in 1994 and is Singapore’s highest literary accolade for authors published in English, Malay or Chinese. Its aim is to promote awareness of Singapore’s past and encourage discussion of issues relating to Singapore’s identity, heritage and culture. In addition to the main prize, a special prize is also awarded for the best essay on Singapore history submitted by a student.

In the latest edition, a shortlist of five writers has been named for the NUS Prize for Literature. Singaporean Clara Chow is the first writer in the program’s 30-year history to be shortlisted in three categories and two languages. She is up for the prize for her work in the English fiction, English creative nonfiction and Chinese poetry categories. The other shortlisted writers are Singaporean poet Edwin Thumboo, Malaysian-Singaporean novelist Jacqueline Cheng and Singaporean-British writer Sukhinder Dhillon.

Britain’s Prince William has been praised for demonstrating the importance of innovation in solving environmental challenges during his visit to Singapore. The prince attended this year’s Earthshot awards ceremony in the city state, where he said that the solutions put forward by the 15 finalists – which include solar-powered dryers to reduce food waste and making electric car batteries cleaner – proved that hope does exist as the world struggles to tackle climate change. The awards were hosted at the Mediacorp Theatre and featured celebrity presenters such as Oscar winner Cate Blanchett, actors Donnie Yen and Lana Condor, and Australian wildlife conservationist Robert Irwin.

The visit to Singapore also saw the prince take part in a tree planting activity at the Jewel, the region’s newest luxury shopping and lifestyle destination. He joined a group of children from the Singapore Children’s Association in planting a Tembusu sapling, which is a symbolic gesture to commemorate the late Queen Elizabeth II’s visit to Singapore in 1972. The event was part of the Singapore International Cultural Exchange programme. The prince is due to meet with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the Istana on his four-day visit. He will also attend the United for Wildlife global summit, which features representatives from law enforcement agencies and conservation groups working together to combat the illegal trade in wildlife products that is estimated to be worth US$20 billion annually. He will also call on President Tharman Shanmugaratnam and plant a tree at the Istana’s indoor garden.