The Prince William Prize and the Singapore Prize for Literature and History

A prize founded by Britain’s Prince William will hold its awards ceremony in Singapore this month. Called the Earthshot Prize, it supports innovative projects that aim to reduce carbon emissions and protect the planet from climate change. It is backed by investment company Temasek, decarbonisation investment platform GenZero and non-profit environmental organisation Conservation International.

Founder and chief executive of the foundation behind the prize, Ms Sheila Jones, told The Straits Times that the idea of holding the ceremony in Asia was “inspired by two observations”. One was that young people in the region were grappling with climate anxiety, which could turn into defeatism and helplessness. The other was that Singapore had a unique opportunity to be a global hub for innovation in the space of climate solutions.

The 2023 prize’s award ceremony is expected to draw a large number of celebrities and feature performances by world-renowned artists and musicians. It will also be a chance for people to come together and show their support for the winners and the initiatives they’re supporting, the organisers said. The five winners will receive PS1 million (S$1.67 million) each to scale their climate solutions. They will be given funding, mentoring and access to networks of global leaders.

Another prestigious literary award has been handed out in Singapore this week. The Singapore Prize recognises works of literary merit in the country’s four official languages – English, Chinese, Malay and Tamil – in categories including fiction, creative nonfiction and poetry.

This year’s winners include first-time writers alllkunilaa, innnpaa, Jee Leong Koh and rma cureess, along with the nonagenarian Wang Gungwu, who won the English Fiction category for his work Home Is Where We Are. Besides the cash prize, the winning authors will be presented with a trophy and a gift code for audiobook platform Storytel.

Mooted by Professor Kishore Mahbubani in an opinion column published in 2014, the NUS Singapore History Prize was established to promote history books with a Singapore element. Its citation for 2021 winner Leluhur: Singapore Kampong Gelam notes that the book is both a synthesis of historical sources and a primary source due to Ms Hidayah’s personal inputs. It is the first time the NUS Singapore History Prize has been awarded to an individual writer whose book was published in a commercial volume.

NUS president Professor Kishore Mahbubani commended the jury for selecting the shortlisted works. He added that the decision was “difficult because of the high standard of entries”. But he pointed out that “it is important for us to be conscious of engendered privilege” and that the prize should not exclude “works that are less well-resourced or accessible”.