Sunday, May 24, 2009

Longlist for the Poppies 2009

Popular Bookstores are running their Reader's Choice (for books in English) and Anugerah Pilihan Pembaca (for books in Malay) awards again this year. Kimmy of Popular was kind enough to send me a copy of the lists of nominees (based, I believe on sales instore) so I guess I have the scoop before the newspapers!

I will blog the Readers Choice award first, and here's the list which I have subdivided into categories, although there is just one overall prize. (Wouldn't it be nice to have more, so that we could celebrate different categories?) *

Fiction (Novels/Novellas) :
Preeta Samarasan - Evening is the Whole Day
Tunku Halim - Juriah's Song
Brian Gomez - Devil's Place
Tan Twan Eng - The Gift of Rain
Kuan Guat Choo - Mouse Clutching Winter Melon
Khoo Kheng-Hor - Nanyang : The Lure of Southern China to Lands of Opportunity and Danger
Fiction (Short Stories) :
Wena Poon - Lions in Winter
Robert Raymer - Lovers and Strangers Revisited

Matthew Thomas - Tales from the Court and other Stories
Non-Fiction :
Yvonne Lee - Vanity Drive: The Vagaries of Women's Vanity
Sheik Mustapha Shukor Al-Masrie - Reach for the Stars
Adeline Loh - Peeing in the Bush
Adibah Amin - Glimpses : Cameos of Malaysian Lives
Paddy Bowie - Datuk Teh Hong Pow : Banking Thoroughbred
Kee Thuan Chye : March 8: The Day Malaysia Woke Up
Tun Mahathir & Tan Sri Abdullah Ahmad - Dr. Mahathir's Letters to World Leaders
Rustam A. Sani - Failed Nation? Concerns of a Malaysian Nationalist
Amir Muhammad - New Malaysian Essays 1
Awang Goneng - Growing Up in Terengganu
In case you're wondering, this year, unlike last, overseas published Malaysian authors have been included provided that their books were in mass market paperback during the qualifying period. Thus Chiew-Siah Tei's Little Hut of Leaping Fishes is expected to be on next year's list. Shih-Li Kow's collection of short stories, Ripples, wasn't published in time to qualify for this year's list but should make it for next.

It's a shame isn't it there is only one prize, with so much of interest on the list and so much diversity!

We have authors who have achieved acclaim for their work overseas and who have each been nominated for one the world's most prestigious literary prizes (Tan Twan Eng - Booker, Preeta Samarasan - Orange).

We have one Singaporean author (Wena Poon) eligible because she was published in Malaysia.

We have last year's winner Adibah Amin, coming back for another bite of the cherry.

We have one former prime minister.

We have two authors who have passed away since their books were written - Rustam A. Sani and Sheik Mustapha Shukor Al-Masrie who wrote about his brother Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor Sheikh Mustapha, Malaysia's first "astronaut" and died just one day before his brother landed from his voyage to the international space station.

Voting will be once again via the Star's Reads Monthly Supplement (though I'm not sure when that will be). The bookstore is organising promotions of the books and from June onwards, customers that visit POPULAR outlets will get 20% discount when they buy any of the nominated books. The winner will be announced at Bookfest @ Malaysia 2009.

Yes, it is a popularity contest and yes, in that sense it cannot be considered a serious literary award.

But it does shine the spotlight on local authors and create some conversation about their books, which cannot be at all a bad thing.

Congrats to all the listed authors and their publishers.

Postscript :

Sorry for misleading info. There are separate prizes for fiction and non-fiction, and three prizes in each category - which means 6 winners. Whee!!

Postscript 2 :

The question of whether Khoo Kheng-Hor's book is fiction or non-fiction comes up in the comments to this post. Shirley Ng of MPH forwarded me an interesting note about this from Khoo herself who says :
... my case stories from China were based on what my aunts told me about my grand-father ... If you want to categorize it under non-fiction then it is not entirely true. If it is fiction then it is not entirely true too. So what shall we call it?
I didn't notice on the initial list but Yvonne Lee's Vanity Drive has been categorised as fiction. Hmmm ... creative non-fiction okay, but ....


Anonymous said...

They should have one prize for fiction and one for nonfiction. I don't think we should mix fiction and nonfiction together.

Drachen said...

Are they really called The Poppies? I like the name! :)

Amir Muhammad said...

Woo hoo! Sales boost (at last)!

But did they really make a mistake by saying that Mahathir wrote to only Third World leaders?

Amir Muhammad said...

Oh and "Nanyang" is a novel, despite its thesis-like subtitle. So there are 10 in each category (fiction & non-fiction), just like last year. :-)

Kee Thuan Chye said...


One of the nominees should be "Datuk TEH Hong PIOW".

bibliobibuli said...

thanks Amir, will move Nanyang!

and thanks Chye for the spelling correction - one was not my typo and the other 'cos of trying to squint at tiny print.

no, they aren't really called the Poppies, Drachen, but someone called them that on this blog last year and i thing the name is rather nice.

Chet said...

Teh becomes The, thanks to auto-spell check!

Jud Jud said...

I hate to have to choose between Evening Is The Whole Day and The Gift of Rain. Both are excellent books with totally different strong points.

BorneoExpatWriter said...

Hi Sharon, just got the good news from MPH and Amir! Could you add Revisited to the title? Lovers and Strangers is the title of the 1993 book, about half the size too!
When I clicked on the title, don't know why my website turned out that way. It's fine when I access it separately. I'll check with my website designer.

Nice to see a lot of friends on this list. It should boost our visibility, too!

All the best to everyone selected and let's hope we all win, one way or another!

Anonymous said...

Jud Jud,

Thanks for your encouraging words.

Tan Twan Eng

bibliobibuli said...

Robert - congrats! you need to make sure popular get it write too as they had also missed out "revisited".

jud jud - oh yes, i do appreciate the dilemma, really i do!

Anonymous said...

I think Kuan Guat Choo's Mouse Clutching Winter Melon is a factual story, perhaps a family memoir. Perhaps it should go under NONFICTION. I may be wrong.

bibliobibuli said...

anon - you're probably right. i divided the books without actually having seen copies of some of them and there isn't too much info online.

this is one book i'm looking forward to finding a copy of ...

Chet said...

I saw the mouse in Popular at Ikano.

BorneoExpatWriter said...

Thanks Sharon. I alerted MPH to alert Popular and they're on top of it. Also, I checked with MPH and they said the two categories are separate. They'll be three winners each. That's going to help us so-called dark horses. Or by the fact that I'm an expat, does that make me a white horse? Maybe I'm a zebra. Either way, that's good for all of us!

BorneoExpatWriter said...

I just saw Kuan Guat Choo last month at a conference in Penang, and met her the previous year when I gave a workshop, also in Penang, and she not only bought a copy of my book but also surprised me by handing me an autographed copy of Mouse Clutching Winter Melon.

I also followed Sharon's link to last year's list and read through about 45 comments, and I have to agree with a couple of the nominees who were pretty excited since this was the first time their work has ever been nominated for any prize.

Other than doing well in some contests here and in the US, this is also my first time at being nominated for anything, and yes, I too feel pretty excited. It's a huge pat on the back and tells me I'm on the right track, and persistence (in rewriting all of my stories for the third time) does pay off. Having a nice cover helps! We all need that extra encouragement now and then, don't we?

Anonymous said...

Is Paddy Bowie the mother of Singaporean model Bonny Hicks? (she wrote, "Esscue me, Are you a Moder" I recall).

- Poppadumdum

Anonymous said...

No, it's Samantha Schubert-lah!

Poppadumdum said...

Oh that's right! Thanks! :-)

Which one died in the air crash in Indonesia?

- Poppadumdum

Anonymous said...

Bonnie Hicks.

Anonymous said...

Ah...thanks again :-)

I used to think Paddy Bowie is a man :-)

- Poppadumdum