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Hwa Chongian Awarded Prestigious Literature Prize

Written by: HCI

Hwa Chong alumna, Shayna Leng (21A15), has been awarded the highly esteemed Edwin Thumboo Prize for Literature 2023. She is the first Hwa Chongian to receive this honour.

Dr He Jiawen, Ms Yao Lingyun, Mr Benjamin Hathaway, Dr Edwin Thumboo, Mr Leng, Ms Shayna Leng and Mr Pang Choon How

The Prize is awarded and administered annually by the National University of Singapore (NUS) with the support of the Ministry of Education (MOE). Named after one of Singapore's most prominent poets and scholars, the Edwin Thumboo Prize recognises and rewards the most outstanding pre-university work in English Literature in Singapore. Thumboo is one of the country's earliest and most prominent poets, and his work is studied in schools and on display in public places.

Prior to winning the award, Shayna went through rounds of nomination, a panel-assessment of her written work and an interview, to triumph over the competition and receive her Certificate of Commendation and prize money on Friday, 19 May 2023. Recipients of this prestigious prize are known to demonstrate a deep sensibility for the written word, understanding its significance both as artistic endeavours and in depicting broader societal concerns.

Next, Shayna is looking forward to an exciting period of academic exploration in the liberal arts and sciences, as she commences her undergraduate studies at Harvard University.

“Literature challenged me not just to read and think, but to feel and empathise. Every text that I have read has changed me in some way, however small, and I am better off for it. I am both humbled and honoured to have won the Edwin Thumboo Prize. I am especially grateful to my family for their unwavering support and love. My mother, who is also an alumna of Hwa Chong Junior College, encouraged me to pursue my passions at HCI: I am glad that I was able to be a part of the Hwa Chong Humanities Programme, and I would like to thank my teachers for their openness to discussion and debate, as well as their warmth and understanding throughout my College life.” – Shayna Leng (21A15)


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