At a star-studded awards ceremony in Singapore this week, five winners from an innovative global environmental solution initiative were announced. The Earthshot Prize — which was launched in 2020 by Britain’s Prince William — awarded the winning organizations a catalytic $1 million each to help scale their solutions. Winners included an Indian maker of solar-powered dryers, a soil carbon marketplace and groups that work to restore Andean forests and deter illegal fishing.
The prize was a part of the Earthshot Week celebrations in Southeast Asia. To mark the occasion, buildings were lit green to showcase this year’s winners. Celebrities, including actors Cate Blanchett, Donnie Yen and Lana Condor, joined the Prince at the event.
During the ceremony, the winners of the 2023 Singapore Literary Prize were also unveiled. The biennial award honors works of fiction and nonfiction in the nation’s four languages. This year, the shortlist featured 49 titles in 12 categories, though that’s 32 fewer submissions than in the previous year — an indication of the impact of the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic on publishing in Singapore.
In a new category, the NUS Singapore History Prize was launched this year. The prize was endowed with a donation and seeks to spur interest in Singapore’s complex history. Its jury was chaired by NUS Asia Research Institute distinguished fellow Kishore Mahbubani, and includes historians Meira Chand and Lam San Ling, archaeologist John Miksic, and economist Peter Coclanis.
The award is a part of the Singapore Book Council’s biennial Singapore Literature Prize, which this year was held in conjunction with the World Architecture Festival (WAFX). This year’s awards featured a revamped “readers’ favorite” exercise, in which consumers voted online for their favorite shortlisted book in each of the four languages. The winners in this consumer-voted category were Ali bin Salim, Daryl Qilin Yam, Pan Zheng Lei and rmaa cureess. They each received 1,000 Singapore dollars (US$719), and the voters were eligible to win book-purchase vouchers.
Despite its many laws regulating gambling, Singapore allows prize promotions and contests as long as participants do not pay to participate, and the terms and conditions of participation are clearly defined. In addition, prizes do not cause psychological pressure on the participants to buy the promoted products or services.