The NUS Singapore History Prize (hereafter The Prize) is an annual book award that celebrates outstanding works of non-fiction on any aspect of Singapore’s past. It is administered by the Department of History of NUS and is open to authors of any nationality writing in English. The Prize seeks to cast a wide net in order to reach readers who are interested in Singapore’s past, and it aims to encourage scholarship and public interest in Singapore’s history.
The top winner of the 2024 Singapore Prize was Ning Cai’s Magic Babe Ning. It was praised for its “beautiful and thoughtful prose” and its use of language to create “a world that is both familiar and strange”. The shortlisted works were The Changing Seasons by Daryl Qilin Yam, Life After Life by rma cureess, and A History of the Future by Pan Zheng Lei. In addition to the winner, two other works were given jury special mentions and one received audience choice honours.
In a nod to the sustainability theme of this year’s event, William wore a dark green suit from his fashion label Alexander McQueen and walked a green carpet with co-hosts Hannah Waddingham and Sterling K. Brown, a former actor and presenter. He called it a “beautiful evening”, adding that the solutions presented by the winning finalists showed that hope remains for solving climate change and its impacts. Other attendees included Singapore ministers and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who serves as a trustee of the Prince’s Earthshot Foundation.
The prizes were handed out in Singapore’s iconic Marina Bay area during a ceremony that saw the city’s most prominent buildings lit up in green ahead of the awards. The winner of each category receives a US$1 million grant to scale up their environmental ideas and help repair the planet. The prince founded the Earthshot initiative in 2020 to inspire optimism about the challenges facing the planet and provide people with ways to help.
During his four-day visit, the prince is expected to meet with Singapore President Tharman Shanmugaratnam and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the Istana, Singapore’s presidential residence. He will also visit the National Museum of Singapore and the Singapore Flyer to see the country’s growing innovation ecosystem.
In the televised awards show, the Prince of Wales praised the winners for demonstrating that “hope does remain”. The winning finalists include an Indian maker of solar-powered dryers, a soil carbon marketplace and groups that restore Andean forests and deter illegal fishing. The prizes were presented in a ceremony hosted by Emmy award-winning actress and singer Hannah Waddingham and Oscar-winning actor Sterling K. Brown at state-owned Media Corp. Actors and musician Bebe Rexha also performed at the glitzy ceremony. A film festival featuring short films based on the winning entries will run later this month. The full list of honorees can be found on the website for the prize. The next competition will be launched in 2024.