We may earn commission on products you buy from links on this page. Pricing and availability are accurate at the time of publication.
A new book and a film take the top prizes at this year’s singapore prize, honouring local literature and films that have made an impact on Singaporeans’ lives and perceptions of the country.
The inaugural Dr Alan HJ Chan Spirit of Singapore Book Prize, launched on April 18 by the National University of Singapore (NUS)’ Confucian Studies Centre, offers a $1 million pot, the largest for a single book prize in Singapore. It was established to promote writing that champions mindsets and values important to the shaping of Singapore, with equality, diversity, religious harmony, meritocracy and pragmatism among them.
NUS Asia Research Institute distinguished fellow Kishore Mahbubani, who mooted the book prize, said: “A nation is a ‘imagined community’ and a shared imagination of its history is one of the critical glues that holds societies together. The book prize aims to contribute to the ongoing work of Singapore as a shared imagined community.”
All six books in the running for the prize have a personal slant. Kamaladevi Aravindan’s novel Sembawang (2020, available here), which follows life in the estate of the same name across five decades, is a contender. The prize will be awarded to the book that has had the most lasting impact on Singaporeans’ understanding of the city-state’s history.
In the poetry category, alllkunila (Azhagunila), innnpaa (Inbha) and Jee Leong Koh won their first SLP awards for their poems that “single out gender and linguistic reclamation with searing confidence and universal appetite”. Former Singapore Writers Festival director Yeow Kai Chai is a second-time winner for his debut collection Snow at 5 PM: Translations of an Insignificant Japanese Poet.
The short film awards jury was comprised of academic Khoo Gaik Cheng, filmmaker Lucky Kuswandi and artist Tuan Andrew Nguyen. The winning short film, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes by Alvin Lee, won the best Singaporean short film award, a production services package worth SGD15,000 from Shooting Gallery Asia and online, audio post and DCP package, and an audio final mix and DCP feature from Mocha Chai Laboratories.
The winners of the 2022 Singapore International Violin Competition were announced on December 14, with violinists Dmytro Udovychenko, Anna Agafia Egholm and Angela Sin Ying Chan taking home the top prizes. The event was held at Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music.