Prince William Visits the Singapore Prize 2024 Winner

singapore prize

The Singapore Prize, previously the National Book Council (Singapore) Prize, is one of the oldest and most prestigious literary awards in Asia. It rewards exceptional published works in four official languages – Chinese, English, Malay and Tamil – that advance Singaporean culture or enrich the nation’s literary heritage.

The award is a S$100,000 one-time grant presented by the government of Singapore in partnership with the Singapore Press Holdings Foundation. The winner of the 2024 Singapore Prize is Professor Kishore Mahbubani, who won for his book Sembawang and Home Is Where We Are, which explores how ethnic Chinese in colonial Singapore adapted to British rule.

“What really sets this prize apart from other similar ones is that it aims to highlight the contributions of individuals,” says Prof Mahbubani, who won for his work in a field that he calls ‘urban history’. He was selected by a panel of judges, including historians and academics from overseas. “We wanted to recognise books that take a long view and go beyond the ‘details of history’,” he adds.

In line with the event’s sustainability theme, Prince William wore a 10-year-old dark green blazer by Alexander McQueen and matched it with his dickie bow. Other celebrities, such as actors Donnie Yen and Lana Condor, South African actress Nomzano Mbatha and Australian wildlife conservationist Robert Irwin, also walked the green carpet. The glitzy ceremony was held at the theatre in state-owned Media Corp and was co-hosted by actor Hannah Waddingham.

On his way to Singapore, the prince will visit the world’s largest glass greenhouse and tallest indoor waterfall. He will also host a summit led by United for Wildlife, an organisation that he founded to tackle the illegal trade in wildlife products, which is estimated to cost the planet $20 billion annually.

His three-day trip will also see him meet Singaporeans who are working on innovative projects to address climate change, such as recycling plastic into new products and creating a new energy source from seawater. He will also try his hand at dragon boating, a sport popular in the city-state and across Southeast Asia.

Aside from the top prize, each of the shortlisted books will receive S$50,000. The other two winners are: Jeremy Tiang’s State of Emergency, which looks at the leftist political movements and detentions in Singapore and Malaysia; and Vincent Tong’s biography of Sam Hua, a dangerous gangster who was responsible for many deaths. The judges have described both books as being “exceptional”. They are able to present Singaporean history in a very compelling and innovative manner.”