Honouring our local writers

Well done: Chan (fourth from left), flanked by Ng and Shen, posing with winners of Popular-The Star Readers’ Choice Awards 2024 at KLCC in Kuala Lumpur. — YAP CHEE HONG/The Star

Their literary gems foster a love for reading among Malaysians

KUALA LUMPUR: The 14th edition of the Popular-The Star Reader’s Choice Awards (RCA) and Popular-BH Anugerah Pilihan Pembaca (APP) continues to honour the dedication and commitment of writers in producing literary masterpieces.

Director of Popular Holdings Bhd Simon Shen said the award celebrates the accomplishments of our local writers in both English and Malay languages, and demonstrates Popular’s commitment to fostering a love for reading.

“We firmly believe that the RCA and APP play a pivotal role in achieving our goals of instilling the love of reading within society and acknowledging the achievements of local authors,” Shen said in his speech at the award presentation ceremony here yesterday.

Winners from the top-selling 2023 Fiction and Non-Fiction books in both English and Malay were selected based on readers’ votes.

Will You Love Me? and Letters for the Fragile Heart by Norhafsah Hamis won first place in both the fiction and non-fiction categories, respectively.

“Thank you Popular for the award and thank you to all the readers for their continued support. The awards mean a lot to me,” said Norhafsah through her representative, as she was unable to attend the event.

“Last year, I received a gift of recognition, and Alhamdulillah this year it has been given to me again,” she said.

Norhafsah also said that, as a writer, no words can describe the feelings of gratitude, appreciation and happiness that she felt for the honour.

“To my readers, this award is dedicated to you for being with me on this wonderful writing journey. And to the team in Iman Publication, my heartfelt thank you, and may our book relationship last a lifetime,” she added.

The second prize in this year’s fiction category went to Not Here to Stay by NF Afrina, in which the narrative takes place in a legendary realm known as Lagenda.

The third prize went to Lilian Li for her book Duet Me Not which is about the journey of Ashvin, a skateboarder, and June, a national athlete.

On the non-fiction side, Norhafsah said her win for Letters for the Fragile Heart was unexpected.

“I’m truly speechless, and this is very unusual for an author. Again, thank you Popular, for the award. To my readers, what can I say, I’m overwhelmed with the tremendous support and love. I’m truly humbled.

“I hope our local book industry will grow and be internationally recognised and respected,” she said.

The second prize for non-fiction went to Ayesha Syahira for He Found You Lost And Guided You, a piece that invites readers to go on a journey of connecting lost souls with the divine.

The third prize went to Doctor in the Dock by Dr Ariza Mohamed, which is about how her life took an unexpected turn when she was summoned by a patient she had attended to 15 years ago.

Likewise, the Popular-BH APP also presented awards on the same occasion for Malay books in both fiction and non-fiction categories.

In his speech, group chief executive officer of Star Media Group Bhd (SMG) Chan Seng Fatt said the event continued to captivate audiences with its diverse offerings and engaging activities.

“As we all know, every writer starts with a blank page and ambitions and dreams. Narrating the paths from the lowest to the highest demonstrates their perseverance and hard work in achieving excellence,” said Chan, adding that the award plays an important role in nurturing talents and recognising excellence within Malaysia’s literary community.

“With this, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate all the nominees for their outstanding achievements, and I wish them the very best in their future endeavours,” he said at event that was also attended by SMG’s chief content officer Datin Paduka Esther Ng and deputy group editor of Berita Harian M. Thilinadan.

Bookfest@Malaysia 2024 started yesterday and runs until April 14, featuring some 520 booths at the KL Convention Centre.

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