THE third time’s the charm, they say. That is certainly the case with this third instalment of the Popular-The Star Readers Choice Awards: the quality of the books and authors vying for your votes this year is the best yet.
Before we get into the books, though, for those who aren’t familiar with these awards, here’s a brief introduction: First organised by Popular Book Co (M) Sdn Bhd and Star Publications (M) Bhd in 2008, the Readers’ Choice Awards are one of the few Malaysian awards that honour local (Malaysia-born or -based) authors writing in the English language.
They are also the only local book awards that are completely interactive because you, the reader – rather than an unknown panel of judges – get to vote for the winners. Even the shortlisted 20 titles you will choose from were picked by a “people’s vote”, as they comprise the books that sold the most in Popular and Harris bookstore outlets nationwide last year.
Among the books that did well last year was Little Hut Of Leaping Fishes by Chiew-Siah Tei, which was critically very well-received when it came out in hardback in 2008 (the paperback was released last year); and there was Ioannis Gatsiounis’s fiction debut early in 2009, Velvet & Cinder Blocks – the Kuala Lumpur-based American freelance reporter has written articles about Malaysia for publications like Newsweek, The Washington Times and Asia Times.
On the non-fiction list, the name Mahathir figures for the third time – a perennial favourite, it seems! – with Marina doing the honours this year with a book she had not expected to publish, 50 Days: Rantings By MM. The always entertaining Amir Muhammad is on the list again, with two very different books: an informative, retrospective look at the legacy of the late Yasmin Ahmad in Yasmin Ahmad’s Films and the irreverently hilarious Malaysian Politicians Say The Darndest Things Vol.2.
If you haven’t read all 20 shortlisted books and still want to take part, keep an eye on the Reads pages in Sunday Star’s magazine, StarMag, over the next few weeks for an introduction to all the books.
The Popular-The Star Readers’ Choice Awards 2010 invites you to submit your selection of the top three fiction and top three non-fiction titles based on the lists below. If you are one of 100 readers whose ranking matches the overall vote, you will receive a RM50 Popular gift voucher as well as a one-year-free-membership Popular card.
Just as importantly, we will also reward the authors of your choice: the top three in each category will each receive cash, trophies and certificates of recognition.
To vote for your favourite authors, fill in the entry form in The Star print edition (detailed instructions are on the form); look out for more forms in The Star over the next few weeks as we introduce all the titles.
You may send as many entries as you like but each entry has to be on an original form, no photocopies are allowed. You have until July 31 to submit your vote (or votes, if you want to make sure your voice is heard!).
The Popular-The Star Readers’ Choice Awards 2010 are a precursor to Malaysia’s largest book exhibition, BookFest@Malaysia 2010, which will be held at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre from Sept 4-12. – Malini Dias
1. Velvet & Cinder Blocks by Ioannis Gatsiounis
2. Map Of The Invisible World by Tash Aw
3. Scary Ever After by John Ho
4. Or Rau by Kuan Guat Choo
5. Kirby: The Life And The Loves by Dr Shaari Isa
6. Never Been Better by O Thiam Chin
7. Inspector Singh Investigates: A Most Peculiar Malaysian Murder by Shamini Flint
8. Little Hut Of Leaping Fishes by Chiew-Siah Tei
9. Chinese Stories In Times Of Change by David T.K. Wong
10. Match Fixer by Neil Humphreys
1. 50 Days: Rantings By MM by Marina Mahathir
2. I, Too, Am Malay by Zaid Ibrahim
3. Taxi Tales by Charlene Rajendran
4. Yasmin Ahmad’s Films by Amir Muhammad
5. Malaysian Politicians Say The Darndest Things Vol.2 by Amir Muhammad
6. Tropical Affairs: Episodes From An Expat’s Life In Malaysia by Robert Raymer
7. Even Madder About Malaysians by Dean Johns
8. Do You Wear Suspenders? by Lydia Teh
9. Ceritalah 3: Malaysia, A Dream Deferred by Karim Raslan
10. Life, The Malaysian Style by Peggy Tan Pek Tao
Look at the list of prominent writers and titles. Mati-lah! Where got chance. If you have enjoyed Do You Wear Suspenders? then please get your copy of The Star and cast your vote for it. Ask and it shall be given, so I’m asking nice and polite. Please vote for Eh Poh Nim. Thank you.