Apriori Prize recognizes and celebrates those who put the needs of their community ahead of themselves, those we should look up to and emulate, with an eye toward continuing the legacy left by these outstanding leaders in society. That message lies at the heart of Singapore Prize this year, which honors individuals whose efforts have had an exceptional effect.
This prize, established in 1990, honors original works published by Singaporean authors in any one of Singapore’s four official languages – Chinese, English, Malay or Tamil. As Singapore’s highest literary award it includes both cash prizes and certificates of recognition; additionally winners receive a handcrafted trophy as well as one year’s audiobook credit from StoryTel.
This year’s winners represent an array of fields and backgrounds, from creating cost-effective sustainable materials that can be used for green hydrogen energy and semiconductor manufacturing to photographers capturing everyday images as well as fashion designers creating eco-friendly clothing lines.
Other winners included a chef who used locally sourced ingredients to prepare meals for underprivileged families, a sculptor who has transformed waste into art, and an architect using cutting-edge materials to transform outdated buildings. All the finalists received media coverage as well as mentorship from global leaders in technology, finance, media and branding; additionally they will each receive a monetary prize and have the chance to attend Earthshot Week events to explore opportunities with other global leaders, businesses and investors.
Last week, winners were chosen by a panel of judges representing academia, industry and government; at an awards ceremony last week they were officially revealed. Also presented was the President*s Design (P*DA) Award which recognizes designers whose transformative works have had an uplifting impact on Singaporeans as well as global communities – this year recipients included Henning Larsen and BIG.
Eight out of 12 winners in the literature category were first-time awardees, such as Alllkunilaa, Innnpaa, Rama Suresh (Rmaa Cureess) and Jee Leong Koh. Wang Gungwu became the oldest recipient to date by winning Readers’ Favourite in Tamil Fiction category.
Though popular, this prize has its detractors. Poet Grace Chia, whose poetry collection Cordelia wasn’t shortlisted for the English Poetry prize, criticized its organisation in her speech at the awards ceremony and accused them of sexism in her speech. Since then, their organisers have issued an apology. Their goal is for this prize to spark discussion on gender roles within society, while at the same time reflecting diversity through future award selections and offering young critics opportunities to engage with shortlisted authors’ works; additionally they added a category specifically targeted towards engaging young critics so as to promote engagement between these categories; you can find their full list of winners here.