There is a magical paradox in the heart of reading local writing. How is it possible to be introduced to a story with familiar settings, with characters and themes you know by heart, yet be led to discover new insights and emotions you’d have never imagined before?
But then, local storytellers are inventors, innovators, alchemists. They take the normal stuff of our everyday life and craft them into engaging new narratives that leave us spellbound.
That’s why it’s always a pleasure to honour writers in Malaysia’s burgeoning English language publishing scene with the Popular-The Star Readers’ Choice Awards (RCA). The awards return for their eighth year in 2015, and, as usual, its winners are chosen by you. This is because the RCA’s objectives are not only to reward and encourage local authors but to also inculcate a love for reading in Malaysians. So read the nominated books and vote because you will be in the running for some nifty prizes, such as a RM50 Popular Gift Voucher and a one-year Popular Card membership.
The RCA nominees are determined from the top 10 bestselling fiction and non-fiction books at Popular and Harris bookstores nationwide last year. And this year sees a diverse and interesting selection of nominated books, offering a mix of themes, genres, and styles.
The fiction category, for example, includes Horror Stories, a mid-career retrospective of spooky tales from “Malaysia’s prince of darkness” Tunku Halim, as well as Ewe Paik Leong’s A China Doll In Kl, which details the life of a Chinese pleasure girl struggling to survive in the seedy underbelly of Kuala Lumpur. Diyar Harraz’s After The Storm is a tale of three individuals seeking courage, justice, and true love, while Ee Leen Lee’s 13 Moons is a chilling short story collection featuring living puppets, zombie sons, and supernatural nightclub guards.
The non-fiction category features works by perennial favourite Lydia Teh, this time for her Still Honking: More Scenes From Malaysian Life, which takes a rib-tickling look at the foibles and fancies of local life; there is also the thoughtful and nostalgic Penang History, My Story by Wong Chun Wai and friends, which offers a heartfelt tribute to famous places around the Pearl of the Orient. (Datuk Seri Wong is group managing director/chief executive officer of The Star Media Group.)
Another favourite in the non-fiction category is former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who shares his insight and experiences in his book, The Wit And Wisdom Of Dr Mahathir Mohamad, while cartoonist Cheeming Boey continues telling illustrated tales of his childhood in When I Was A Kid 3.
So, how do you vote for your faves during the month-long (May 1-31) voting period ? First, remember that you have to choose three titles each in the fiction and non-fiction categories – that’s six choices all together.
To vote, you can fill up voting forms, available on this page on the right, as well as at all Popular and Harris bookstores nationwide. Or you can vote online at either popular.com.my, facebook.com/popularmalaysia, bookfestmalaysia.com or facebook.com/bookfestmalaysia.
Unsure of which books to vote for? Never fear, as Star2 will be providing a rundown of each of the 10 titles nominated in both categories in the next few weeks. Keep an eye on our Reads pages.
The Readers’ Choice Awards will be awarded during a special ceremony at 10.30am on July 11 at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre.
All Popular and Harris bookstore outlets will also be selling 19 of the 20 nominated titles at a 20% discount from today till July 31. One title, Penang History, My Story, will be sold at its nett price.
The Popular-The Star Readers’ Choice Awards 2015 are a precursor to BookFest@Malaysia 2015; look out for more information on the region’s biggest book event in these pages soon. Star Publications (M) Bhd is a media partner of BookFest@Malaysia 2015.
NEXT: The complete list nominees for the Popular-The Star Readers’ Choice Awards 2015 –>>