Alongside their GBP 1 million prize, winners of the APAC Insider Singapore Prize will also have access to an experienced team that can accelerate their ideas and implementation, including mentorship from an array of industry experts as well as potential investment from APAC Insider’s ecosystem. In addition, prizes offer additional perks including two or more years’ exemption on ATP World Tour as well as participation at key events.
Lee Kuan Yew was Singapore’s first prime minister and is widely revered as one of Asia’s foremost statesmen, having established this monetary prize in 1983 to mark 50 years since independence. Now known as one of Asia’s premier literary awards. Annually, Singapore and regional authors who make significant contributions through non-fiction or fiction books receive this prize. Each winning book in each category receives a cash prize of SG$10,000 as well as a commission trophy and 12-month gift code to audiobook platform StoryTel. Winning entries must have been published during 2017 in either English, Chinese or Malay and be judged by an esteemed jury panel chaired by NUS Asian Research Institute distinguished fellow Kishore Mahbubani.
This year’s competition witnessed an increase in both prize money and number of categories awarded, totalling six awards overall. A special mention should go out to the newly introduced Reader’s Choice category which allows readers to vote for their favorite book of 2019. Specifically 4,399 people cast votes this year alone!
Other winners included rma cureess (Rama Suresh), Daryl Qilin Yam and Pan Zheng Lei – these authors received awards in Tamil fiction; Tamil reader’s favorite and Chinese fiction respectively. It should also be noted that cureess was awarded both categories simultaneously – an achievement never before accomplished in either one!
At this year’s awards ceremony, judges noted the diversity of this year’s shortlist. This included historical nonfiction works such as Kamaladevi Aravindan’s Sembawang which investigates Singaporean estate history, and The Merdeka Song which examines politics of detention in Singapore. Also among this shortlist were four poetry books such as Cordelia by Grace Chia which was considered for top prize but did not win; Chia later posted an online speech accusing the jury of sexism; she criticised their decision to awarding two male poets share of top prize between two male poets; she later removed her post online speech before accepting and withdrawing it altogether. A full list of winners can be found on its website.