SINGAPORE – An archaeologist whose work refutes the common misperception that Singapore’s history began with Sir Stamford Raffles has been awarded the inaugural Singapore Prize. Professor John Miksic of the National University of Singapore (NUS) was crowned the winner for his book “Singapore and the Silk Road of the Sea, 1300-1800”. He is the first archaeologist to receive the award. Miksic, 71, started his excavation career in 1984 and later joined NUS’ Department of Southeast Asian Studies to conduct archaeological research on the island.
During his three-day visit to Singapore, the heir to Britain’s throne will attend the awards ceremony of the Earthshot Prize, which honors green innovators tackling the planet’s most pressing challenges. He will also meet Singapore leaders, and call on President Tharman Shanmugaratnam at the Istana Palace, one of Singapore’s oldest heritage sites.
The coveted Cultural Medallion, awarded by the Singapore Arts Council to individuals of exceptional artistic talent, has been bestowed upon more than 130 artists in a wide range of disciplines. This year, the council has awarded a record number of medals in the fields of performing arts, visual arts, literary arts and music. The medals are a sign of recognition and support for artists’ efforts to enhance the quality of life through their creativity.
This year, the Singapore Literature Prize (SLP) received the highest number of entries in its history. Its five-member jury panel, chaired by Mr Mahbubani, a former Singapore ambassador, was impressed with the variety and depth of the works selected for the shortlist. A total of 12 works were shortlisted this year, including the finalists of the readers’ favorite category, which was won by Ali bin Salim, Daryl Qilin Yam, Pan Zheng Lei and rma cureess (Rama Suresh).
The winners of this year’s Singapore Prize will be announced at a special awards ceremony to be held at Victoria Theatre next month. In addition to the main prize, each winner will receive a cash prize of $10,000 and an engraved trophy. More details of the ceremony will be released soon. Meanwhile, the public can vote for their favorite books at www.sgpprize.com. The voting period ends on December 30. The top four works will be crowned the winners in their respective categories and they will also receive the readers’ choice awards. Voters are eligible to cast up to two votes per person in each category. The results will be available by the end of January 2024.