Prince William Visits the Singapore Prize Finalists

The heir to Britain’s throne, Prince William, made his first visit to Singapore on Tuesday evening (Nov 7), arriving in a limousine at Changi Airport. He then walked the “green carpet” for the Earthshot Prize awards ceremony — an initiative started by his royal foundation in 2020 to help find solutions for climate change. He was joined by stars such as actor Cate Blanchett and actors Lana Condor, Donnie Yen, and Robert Irwin to present awards for solutions that ranged from solar-powered dryers to fighting food waste.

The prize, administered by the NUS Department of History, was launched in 2014 and awarded every three years. It seeks to broaden definitions of what constitutes history by welcoming writings from different perspectives and themes relating to Singapore’s past, by both new and established writers. Prof Mahbubani’s idea for the prize stemmed from an opinion column he wrote in April 2014, calling on Singaporeans to make philanthropic donations towards an award to be presented for the best book about Singapore’s history. A Singapore citizen then responded with an offer to donate money, and the prize was born.

This year’s winner was archaeologist John Miksic, whose book Singapore and the Silk Road of the Sea, 1300-1800, took him over 13 years to write. His work tells the stories of 1,000 people who volunteered to help with his excavation projects in the city. “It’s not only about their contributions to our collective story, but it’s also about how they were affected by this process of discovery,” he said.

Other finalists included The Future of the Past by Kwa Chong Guan and Tan Tai Yong; Seven Hundred Years: A History of Singapore by Kamaladevi Aravindan; State of Emergency (2017) by Jeremy Tiang; and Home is Where We Are (2020) by Wang Gungwu and Margaret Wang. The SLP also features the Readers’ Favorite award, where people can vote online for their favorite shortlisted book in each of the four languages.

The winners will be honoured at the awards dinner at MediaCorp Theatre on Nov 29, which will also feature performances by Bastille, OneRepublic, and Bebe Rexha. The awards are a part of this year’s WAFX 2023, an international interior design show held alongside the annual World Cities Summit in Singapore. For more on this article and others from Publishing Perspectives, click here. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest news in the world of books.