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M’sian author wins book prize

GEORGE TOWN: Author Khoo Salma Nasution (pic) could not imagine herself winning the International Convention of Asia Scholars (ICAS) Book Prize 2015 as she was still firmly behind the favourite as the voting process was about to conclude.

Her fortune changed for the better after The Star ran an article about her book, The Chulia in Penang: Patronage and Place-Making around the Kapitan Kling Mosque 1786–1957, an account of the prosperous Penang Tamil Muslims who were once known as Chulias.

Undoubtedly, the article helped draw some deciding votes for her publication that had to compete with 175 books and 50 dissertations for the top prize.

On July 6, she received The Colleagues’ Choice Award, one of the five categories of the ICAS Book Prizes 2015 awards in Penang’s sister city Adelaide, Australia, where the ICAS conference, the premier international gathering in Asian Studies and Asia-related research, is being held.

The prize recognises the best English-language books and dissertations in Asian Studies of the past two years, focusing on the humanities and social sciences.

“Winning the ICAS Book Prize Colleagues’ Choice Award is an honour and I owe it all to my friends who voted for me,” said the Penang Heritage Trust (PHT) president in an email yesterday.

“I am proud to say that I had various groups of people trying to mobilise votes for me, especially members of the community I wrote about, for example, the people at Kapitan Kling Mosque and the Indian Muslim Community Organisation Malaysia and friends in Tamil Nadu, in particular filmmaker S. Anwar who also mobilised votes for me in India.

“It means a lot to me to know that the Tamil Muslim community which I wrote about are proud of the book.

“My friends translated the call to vote for the book into Malay, Tamil, Chinese, Indonesian, Thai and Arabic.

“My friends in the sister cities of Phuket and Adelaide also mobilised support,” she said of her book which can be purchased at arecabooks.com.

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