A work on the lives of comfort women and a mash-up of prose and comics about a multinational corporation run by Asian demons are among the winners at this year’s Singapore Prize, which recognises the country’s home-grown publishing industry. The breezy genre-blending graphic novel Malevolent Managers and Folkloric Freelancers by Benjamin Chee and Wayne Ree, published by Difference Engine, won both the Best Literary Work category and the coveted Book of the Year award at the 2023 awards.
It’s not only the writers themselves who are honoured, as the finalists also get to take part in various events and programmes to further develop their business. For example, a series of workshops on digital marketing and branding will be held for the finalists, as well as an opportunity to attend a business development seminar by the Institute for Policy Research and Management. There will also be an opportunity for them to pitch their ideas to investors, as well as get feedback and mentorship from industry leaders.
The winner will receive a monetary prize and will be given the opportunity to attend the TEDxSingapore event in March, where they will have the chance to share their story with an audience of more than 500 people. They will also be given media coverage in the upcoming issue of Vogue Singapore, and will be able to access networking opportunities with key players in the fashion industry.
Another event where the finalists will be able to showcase their talents is the World Interiors Fair (WAFX) in April, which will give them an international platform to raise awareness about their projects and help them expand their networks. The finalists will also be awarded the Singapore Design Innovation Award, which comes with a cash prize and a chance to win a spot in next year’s WFAA Asia-Pacific Awards of Excellence.
Lastly, the winners will be able to use the award money for any purpose, as long as they keep up the momentum of their project and continue working towards its success. They will also be given the opportunity to attend various international music events, including the Global Entrepreneurship Summit and the Cannes Film Festival, where they can build connections with potential partners and investors.
The Singapore prize was created in 2014 by the Department of History at NUS with the aim to broaden the definition of Singapore literature and make it more accessible to a wider audience. The prize is open to books on any topic that contribute to a better understanding of Singapore’s history, whether written in Chinese, Malay or English. This year, the prize received more than 4,000 votes from readers, and four authors won Readers’ Favourite awards – Ali bin Salim, Daryl Qilin Yam, Pan Zheng Lei (Pan Cheng Lui) and rmaa cureess – who each received $1,000 and book-purchase vouchers worth $50. More information on the prize can be found here.