Lately, we’ve been writing a lot about Malaysians who’ve been achieving great things internationally, and it warms our hearts to share about yet another local talent whose work has been given the recognition it deserves.
Author Hanna Alkaf’s debut novel ‘The Weight of Our Sky’ has won the Freeman Book Awards. Woot woot!
The award is given out by the National Consortium for Teaching about Asia (NCTA), the Committee on Teaching about Asia (CTA) of the Association for Asian Studies (AAS), and Asia for Educators (AFE) at Columbia University, for children and young adult books that tell stories from East and Southeast Asia.
Alkaf's book won the Young Adult/ High School Literature category, together with Randy Ribay's 'Patron Saints of Nothing', a book set in the Philippines.
She tweeted about the award, saying "HI. HELLO. HOW ARE YOU ALL. OH ME, NO BIG, I’M FINE, JUST FOUND OUT THAT THE WEIGHT OF OUR SKY IS THE WINNER OF THE 2019 FREEMAN AWARD THAT’S ALL. *muffled screeching*"
The journalist turned full-time author's first book made waves both locally and internationally when it was released last year.
This was mainly due to the unusual topic she chose to write about.
'The Weight of Our Sky' tells the story of Melati, a teenager suffering from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and her journey navigating through the chaos of the riots as well as her disruptive illness, all while looking for her mother.
It is not an easy book to digest as it talks about two very heavy topics - the May 13 riots and mental health - but Alkaf manages to tell the story in a way that is not too overwhelming.
When the book first hit the market, it was often called 'an unapologetically Malaysian' book, so we're not at all surprised that it won the Freeman Book Awards.
You can read more about the author and the book here.