NUS opens third iteration of NUS Singapore History Prize to global nomination of non-fiction and fiction works

The Department of History at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, National University of Singapore (NUS), today announced that the call for submissions for the third iteration of the NUS Singapore History Prize is now open. An open global competition, it will accept nominations for both non-fiction and fiction works from around the world that focus on the history of Singapore.

The NUS Singapore History Prize was launched in 2014 with the aim of spurring interest in and understanding of Singapore’s history. It hopes to make Singapore’s unique and complex history more accessible to non-academic audiences and to encourage greater discussion about Singapore’s place in the world.

The Prize, which comes with an award of S$50,000, will next be awarded in 2024 to an outstanding publication in English (written or translated) that has made a significant impact on our understanding of Singapore’s history, and is published between 1 June 2021 and 31 May 2024. Other creative works that have clear historical themes may also be submitted. Nominations must be book-length works that are either authored or co-authored, and should address any time period, theme, or field of Singaporean history, or include a substantial aspect of Singaporean history as part of a wider story.  

The jury is chaired by Mr Kishore Mahbubani, Distinguished Fellow at the NUS Asia Research Institute, who commented, “The great paradox about Singapore is that while we have an outstanding history as a nation, we have few outstanding history books about our nation. The whole world is interested in learning more about the unique success story of Singapore. At the same time, the younger generations of Singaporeans are equally curious about this unique Singapore story. The goal of the NUS Singapore History Prize is to unleash a new burst of historical writing on Singapore, about both the pre-independence and post-independence periods of Singapore’s history.”

In 2021, the NUS Singapore History Prize was awarded to Hidayah Amin for her book Leluhur: Singapore’s Kampong Gelam which presents the history of Kampong Gelam in the context of changes to Singapore’s economic, political, and social history over the last 200 years.

Professor John Miksic was the winner of the inaugural prize in 2018 for his work Singapore And The Silk Road Of The Sea, 1300-1800 – a book that synthesises 25 years of archaeological research to reconstruct the 14th-century port of Singapore.

Mr Mahbubani added, “The history of Singapore is not a static story. New information and insights keep emerging, as demonstrated by the works of the first two prizewinners. I hope that the new submissions will once again surface similar new insights.”

The winner of the 2024 NUS Singapore History Prize will be selected by a five-member Jury Panel comprising Mr Mahbubani; Prof John Miksic; Prof Tan Tai Yong, President of the Singapore University of Social Sciences; Prof Peter A. Coclanis, Director, Global Research Institute, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; and economist Dr Lam San Ling.

The Jury Panel will be assisted by a Nominating Committee consisting of five members, including academics from the NUS Department of History, arts and literary figures, museum curators, and history teachers and curriculum developers.

Please refer to the Annex for more information on the 2018 and 2021 winning books.

For more information about the NUS History Prize, please visit: https://fass.nus.edu.sg/hist/nus-singapore-history-prize/