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Malaysian author Hanna Alkaf bags Freeman Book award with ‘Weight of Our Sky’

By Anne Grace Savitha Malay Mail Friday, Jan 24,  2020

Hanna Alkaf, author of ‘The Weight of Our Sky’, speaks to Malay Mail in Kuala Lumpur February 15, 2019. — Picture by Choo Choy May

PETALING JAYA, Malaysia –  Author Hanna Alkaf’s debut young adult novel, Weight of Our Sky bagged the Young Adult/High School Literature Category award at the Freeman Book Awards.

The KL-born writer became the first Malaysian to win the award, initiated by the National Consortium for Teaching About Asia (NCTA) at Columbia University, with the book that was published last year.

The award is handed out annually to new young adult and children’s literature that have contributed meaningfully to understanding East and Southeast Asia,

The story, also available as a digital comic on the Webtoon app, tells the tale of a music-loving teen, Melati Ahmad, who suffers from obsessive compulsive disorder.

With the backdrop of the race riots in 1969 in Kuala Lumpur, the conflict escalates in the story when both Melati and her mother are separated due to the racial tensions.

Hanna’s upcoming work is her contribution to a collection of short stories titled Once Upon an Eid which will be published this May and The Girl and the Ghost, set to be published in August.

Hannah’s win is a first at the Freeman Book Awards after Shamini Flint, who is now based in Singapore, received an Honourable Mention in 2017 with Ten: A Soccer Story.

From: MALAY MAIL (MALAYSIA) Friday, Jan 24, 2020

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