Malaysian author Hanna Alkaf's second novel among nominees for US-based Kirkus Prize

  • Books
  • Thursday, 10 Sep 2020

'I never have thought this would happen to me at this stage of my career,' says Hanna about being a finalist for the Kirkus Prize. Photo: The Star/Ong Soon Hin

Author Hanna Alkaf's second book The Girl And Ghost, published this year by Harper (an imprint of Harper Collins), is in the running for the annual US-based Kirkus Prize. Hanna's book is a finalist in the Young Reader's Literature category.

“I saw the email from my editor when I woke up this morning and was so sure I was dreaming that I made my husband read it to make sure it was real, ” says Hanna when she received the news today.

“I’m overwhelmed to be included on a list that includes luminaries like Elizabeth Acevedo and Jason Reynolds. I’m just so grateful to be in this position. I never have thought this would happen to me at this stage of my career, ” she adds.

The Girl And The Ghost is Hanna’s first middle grade novel (readers between 8 and 12).

The story revolves a young girl who has a strange relationship with a pelesit (a ghost in Malay folklore).

This new book comes after her acclaimed debut novel The Weight Of Our Sky (2019), which won a US-based Freeman Book Award (Young Adult/High School Literature category) earlier this year.

In Young Reader's Literature, the other nominees include a children's version of Ibram X, Kendi's award-winning study of race, Stamped From The Beginning, co-authored with Jason Reynolds. The other nominees Derrick Barnes' I Am Every Good Thing, illustrated by Gordon C. James; Carole Lindstrom's We Are Water Protectors, illustrated by Michaela Goade; Kimberly Brubaker Bradley's Fighting Words and Elizabeth Acevedo's Clap When You Land.

The nominees, six each in the three categories - a US$50,000 (RM208,000) honour for the best fiction, nonfiction and children's books - were chosen by panels of writers, critics, booksellers and librarians. They were announced recently by US trade publication Kirkus Reviews.

The results will be announced on Nov 5.

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