The 2023 edition of the biennial Singapore prize honoured 12 winners in Chinese, English and Malay at an awards ceremony in Singapore. The Best Literary Work award went to work-life mash-up Malevolent Managers And Folkloric Freelancers by Benjamin Chee and Wayne Ree (Difference Engine), a breezy riff on Asian mythology and corporate life with a cast of pontianak, manananggal, ba jiao gui and other supernatural demons who run a multinational corporation. It was described by the judges as “a cultural statement on 21st-century life in South-east Asia” and “a tome that anyone who wants to understand contemporary Singapore must read.”
The Book Of The Year award, meanwhile, was picked for Ning Cai – Who Is Magic Babe Ning? by Hidayah Hirsi Afif (Pages Publishing) for a story about a woman who was kidnapped when she was nine years old and never returned to her family. It explores the impact of a single person’s decision on a community, as well as the resilience and strength of families to survive difficult circumstances. The judges called the book “a lyrical, evocative and compelling read”.
Science was also celebrated at this year’s ceremony with a prize that honours young scientists. The first-ever winner of the Apec Aspire prize was Nanyang Technological University scientist Liu Zheng for his development of a material that can be used for green hydrogen energy and semiconductor manufacturing. He beat out 15 other nominees from the 21 Apec economies.
There were also prizes for authors who sparked debate on social issues, including the Best Non-Fiction title for Comfort Women Of Singapore In History And Memory by National Institute of Education associate professor Ang Ching-Kuan. The judges praised the book for its “insightful analysis of the socio-cultural phenomenon and its influence on Singapore”.
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This article has been updated since it was originally published. It was last reviewed on 2023-12-13 by Editors.
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