The NUS Singapore Prize Shortlist

NUS Singapore History Prize nominating committee has selected works that go beyond traditional views of history as being about great leaders alone, including novels with personal slant that span from 1950s up to present day. A winner will be revealed later this year. The shortlist features six books written from different perspectives covering these six shortlisted decades spanning 1950s up to present day – six tomes on history as well as fiction with personal histories from Singaporeans themselves are included among six shortlisted works for consideration this year. The winner will be revealed October 1.

Kishore Mahbubani, distinguished fellow and director of NUS Asia Research Institute Kishore Mahbubani first proposed this prize idea last year in his Straits Times column. According to Mahbubani: “Benedict Anderson famously wrote that nations are imagined communities, with shared imagination being an essential element in maintaining societies today.

NUS has launched an online book store through which nominated authors’ books can be ordered and all profits donated to charity. Additionally, the shop will feature books about Singapore as well as NUS Press-edited works on Asian history. This store will open later this month with NUS Press acting as publisher for this prize.

At yesterday’s media briefing, NUS announced its inaugural History Prize will be awarded for non-fiction work written or translated from English and published between January 2017 and May 30. Submissions could cover any aspect of Singapore history; submissions close May 30, and winners will receive a cash prize of S$50,000 from our panel of judges consisting of Prof Miksic – associate professor of Southeast Asian History at NUS; Dr Tan Tai Yong, president of NUS’s faculty of arts and social sciences; Prof Peter A Coclanis from North Carolina Chapel Hill; Prof Peter A Coclanis from North Carolina Chapel Hill; economist Dr Lam San Ling; plus economist Dr Lam San Ling

NUS will present its inaugural Prize for Fiction in 2022 and may consider expanding it to include films or other forms (such as comics) with strong Singapore elements. This prize was established by NUS’s Centre for Singapore and Global Studies.

Yesterday night’s inaugural award ceremony of The Prize was hosted at The Theatre at state-owned Media Corp, with actors Sterling K. Brown and Hannah Waddingham acting as hosts. One Republic and Bebe Rexha performed for audience, and Donnie Yen donned an old dark green Alexander McQueen blazer; all this added up to an event themed around sustainability; using reusable cups and green carpet for its red-carpet walk.

Tiang will become the inaugural winner of this prize and receive a plaque and S$25,000, while her runners-up will each be presented with S$10,000. Other nominees for consideration were Kwa Chong Guan’s Seven Hundred Years: A History of Singapore (2019; available here) and Kamaladevi Aravindan’s novel Sembawang (2020, available here), both published by Kinokuniya bookstores. According to an NUS press release, over 31 books submitted from publishers were shortlisted by an in-house nominating committee comprised of NUS academics/scholars as well as members from arts/education backgrounds as a nomination committee comprised of NUS academics/scholars as members from academia as well as arts/education professionals as nominating committee members with expertise on arts/edu topics from arts/edu areas of academia as a nominating committee composed of NUS academics/scholars/public/artists from arts/education backgrounds; public nomination committee included members from arts/education fields as well as NUS academic/scholars/scholars as members/scholars as members/scholarship/public/ education groups within NUS as nominating committee members/public/members as members from different organizations within Kinokuniya bookstores available online here if necessary to receive nomination if possible (available here/2020 here/ Kinokuniya bookstoress for this prizes/2019, respectively). Kinokuniya bookstores both are available here). Kinokuniya bookstores including academic/ scholars as public members/arts members among among public from arts/ scholars / public from NUS as part of public sectors who contributed publishers/education.