Singapore Prize – Nominees for the Earthshot Prize 2019

singapore prize

After its inaugural awards ceremony in London in 2021 and last year’s in Boston, the third annual Earthshot Prize will be hosted by Singapore this year. The prize, founded by Britain’s Prince William, aims to “show the world that solutions to some of our biggest environmental challenges are out there,” and Singapore was chosen for its role as the gateway to Asia, organisers said in a statement on Monday.

The winner will be selected by a jury panel that includes Prof Mahbubani and Professor Miksic, as well as scholars and experts in the fields of environment, science, engineering and public policy from around the world. The judges will also be aided by a group of advisers, including global leaders from industry, business and the arts who will help them explore “new opportunities and partnerships” with the winners and finalists.

This year’s shortlist includes a number of works with a personal slant, including Jeremy Tiang’s novel State Of Emergency (2017, available here), which looks at the leftist political movements and detentions that rocked Singapore in the 1950s. Also on the list is Leluhur: The Story of Kampong Gelam by Hidayah Amin, which sheds light on the history of a neighbourhood many know only as a tourist attraction.

A few of this year’s nominees also have a strong environmental focus. For example, one of the runners-up in the NUS History Prize, Wang Gungwu’s Sembawang (2019, available here), focuses on the lives of migrants from rural areas to urban Singapore, while another contender, Mok Zining’s debut collection of poems, The Orchid Folios, is about “the beauty and fragility of the natural world”.

The other nominated book in this category is The Big Bad Swim by James Ley. This is a gripping tale of survival and courage on the oceans of the world, and it was inspired by the true story of a British swimmer who lost his way at sea and was rescued by a local fisherman after being lost for almost 48 hours.

The winners and finalists will be flown in from around the world for a week of engagements in Singapore, with the final ceremony taking place on November 7. This year’s event is also being supported by strategic partners Temasek Trust, Temasek GenZero and Conservation International, which will bring their collective expertise in catalytic philanthropy, blended finance and community engagement. They will play a key role in helping the prize winners and finalists to scale their projects and take them to the next level. They will also provide support in organising the awards ceremony and ‘Earthshot Week’ in Singapore. The full programme will be announced later this year.