Newswise — The Department of History at the National University of Singapore (NUS) Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences today announced the opening of the second round of the NUS Singapore History Prize.

Administered by the NUS Department of History, the prize, which comes with an award of $50,000, will next be awarded in 2021 for works published from January 2017 to November 2020. This time, it will be an open global competition that will accept nominations for both non-fiction and fiction works to attract a broad variety of works with a historical theme.

Mooted by Professor Kishore Mahbubani, Senior Advisor at the NUS Office of the Vice President (University & Global Relations), and created in 2014 in support of the national SG50 programme to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Singapore’s independence, the NUS Singapore History Prize is awarded to an outstanding publication that has made a lasting impact on our understanding of the history of Singapore.

The NUS Singapore History Prize aims to stimulate an engagement with Singapore’s history broadly understood (this might include pre 1819) and works dealing with Singapore’s place in the world. Another aim is to make the complexities and nuances of Singapore’s history more accessible to non-academic audiences and to cast a wide net for consideration of works that deal with history. At the same time, the Prize hopes to generate a greater understanding among Singapore citizens of their own unique history.

In 2018, the inaugural NUS Singapore History Prize was awarded to renowned archaeologist Professor John Miksic of the NUS Department of Southeast Asian Studies, for his book Singapore and the Silk Road of the Sea, 1300 – 1800. The book provides detailed archaeological evidence that Singapore’s story began more than 700 years ago. Please refer to the Annex for more information on Prof Miksic’s book.

Singapore and the Silk Road of the Sea did a wonderful job in showing Singapore’s story began long before the British set foot on the island. It is a remarkably accomplished scholarly work. However, the Prize is open to more than scholarly work since we want to encourage more public engagement with the many fascinating aspects of our country’s past to help us all better understand what we have accomplished,”  said Prof Mahbubani, who is the chair of the 2021 NUS Singapore History Prize jury panel.

Prof Miksic, a newly appointed member of the 2021 Prize’s Jury Panel, added, “Winning the inaugural Prize was a tribute to the hundreds of Singaporeans who had volunteered for archeological digs over the years to recover a sense of Singapore’s past. We want to see books that appeal to those with an interest in Singapore’s history, from formal scholarly studies to other works that inspire curiosity.”

Nominations for the NUS Singapore History Prize now open

The Department is now accepting nominations from publishers of works in English (written or translated) published from January 2017 to 30 November 2020. Other creative work that has 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 Singapore history, or include a substantial aspect of Singapore history as part of a wider story.

The winner of the 2021 NUS Singapore History Prize will be selected by a five-member Jury Panel comprising Prof Mahbubani and Prof Miksic, along with Ms Claire Chiang, Senior Vice President, Banyan Tree Holdings Limited; Professor 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.

For more information about the NUS History Prize, please visit: