NUS Singapore History Prize

sg history prize final

The Prize

The NUS Singapore History Prize was established in 2014 when an anonymous donor provided an endowed gift to fund the Prize, The Department of History of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, National University of Singapore (NUS), administers the NUS Singapore History Prize [hereafter The Prize]. The Prize is open to works in, or translated to, English by creators of any nationality.

The Prize has three objectives:

  • 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);
  • To make the complexities and nuances of Singapore's history more accessible to non-academic audiences;
  • To cast a wide net for consideration of works that deal with history.

The Prize will be awarded every three years. The winning work will receive an award of $50,000 Singapore. Short listed books will also be publicly announced, and featured on the program website.


**Due to the global pandemic we have extended the period for nominations. Works published by May 2021 will be considered. All submissions to be received by May 30, 2021. The Prize will be awarded towards the end of 2021.

The Prize will be an open global competition, receiving works in English (written or translated), that meets the following criteria:

  • Works published from January 2017 to 30 November 2020
  • Prize works may include non-fiction and fiction. Other creative work that has clear historical themes might also be submitted.

The place of publication can be anywhere in the world, but the nominated book must have a publishing date and ISBN or ISSN that falls within this time span. All nominations will be acknowledged, but no further communication will be made unless the nominated book is placed on the final short list for the award. Nominations should be submitted by 1 December 2020 through the following link: Books published only in electronic format may be submitted in soft copy provided they meet the above criteria. Publishers should send five (5) copies of a book they would like to nominate to this address:

  • NUS Singapore History Prize
    Nominating Committee Chair
    Dept. of History
    National University of Singapore
    11 Arts Link, AS1, #05-27
    Singapore 117573

Please note: The Prize will only accept in nomination published books that meet the criteria stipulated; it is not a publishing program, and it will not endorse, support, or assist the publication of any unpublished manuscript, of any kind.

Should the work be shortlisted by the Nominating Committee, we will require another five (5) copies of your work.

Detailed Rules and Regulations and Judging Process can be downloaded here.

The purpose of this award is to promote real excellence in the scholarly study of the History of Singapore, broadly interpreted, in any field. The Prize winner will be a book that will make a profound and lasting contribution to our understanding of, interest in, and critical engagement with, the history of Singapore—a book that will make us reconsider how we understand that history.

Nominate now!

The Prize Panel

The NUS Singapore History Prize is awarded by a Prize Panel of five (5) judges appointed by the President of NUS. The criteria for the prize, and the mechanism for selection of a winner, in a particular three year cycle will be determined by the judges and announced together with a closing nomination date at least a yer in advance of the prize being awarded.

The Jury Panel will only consider a shortlist of nominated publications, to be determined by the Nominating Committee. The Panel will operate by consensus. For the 2021 competition cycle and award, the following have kindly agreed to serve:

  • Prof Kishore Mahbubani (Chair)
  • Ms Claire Chiang
  • Prof Peter Coclanis
  • Dr Lam San Ling
  • Prof John Miksic

Nominating Committee

The Nominating Committee will be chaired by the Head of the Department. It will work by consensus. It will select a short list of nominated works to be considered by the Jury Panel for the final award. The following have kindly agreed to serve:

  • Assoc Prof Ian Gordon (Chair)
  • Mr Alfian Bin Sa'at
  • Ms Beatrice Chong
  • Ms Suhaili Osman
  • Dr Seng Guo Quan

Winner and Shortlisted Works in 2018

  • Singapore and the Silk Road of the Sea, 1300-1800 (Winner)
  • Living the Singapore Story. Celebrating our 50 Years 1965-2015
  • Nature’s Colony. Empire, Nation and Environment in the Singapore Botanic Gardens
  • Sarong Kebaya: Peranakan Fashion in an Interconnected World (1500-1950)
  • Squatters into Citizens. The 1961 Bukit Ho Swee Fire and the Making of Modern Singapore