Kuala Lumpur - Efforts to attract more non-Malay writers to contribute towards the production of Malay literary works should be intensified as they are capable of narrowing the gap between the races in this country, said the Raja Muda of Perak, Raja Dr Nazrin Shah.
He said the production of literary materials and literary works involving all races must be fully exploited as literature could be an effective instrument in strengthening national unity.
"The future of a nation with a plural society depends very much on the solidarity of its people," he said when officiating the 2006 Kumpulan Utusan-Exxon Mobile literary award night here.
The literary award, among the top in the country since its introduction in 1985, had contributed to the publication of more then 110 literary titles and the printing of 400,000 copies for the five categories of the awards.
Raja Dr Nazrin Shah said he was happy that the awards for literary works had succeeded in producing many non-Malay writers.
Thirty-one writers won the 2006 Kumpulan Utusan-Exxon Mobil literary awards in the short story, teen short story, poetry, teen novel, research and literary feature categories.
The award for second place in the youth novel category was won by Sri Rahayu Mohd Yusop for her work "Odisi Tanah Kencana" while Mohamad Yazid Abdul Majib won third place for "Jesteru Impian di Jaring".
They won RM4,000 in cash and RM3,000 respectively together with a letter of appreciation and other supplementary prizes. There was no first prize winner for this category this year.
The three main prizes for the youth short story category were won by Rokiah Ismail for "Cinta Puncak Saga Martha", Syed Mohd Zakir Syed Othman (Matahari di atas Sejadah) and Khairunnasriah Abdul Salam (Sehijau Bakau Seteguh Cinta). The winners for this category took home RM2,500 in cash each as well as other supplementary prizes.
The eight-member jury panel was headed by Dr Hamidah AbdulHamid.
Source: www.bernama.com (28 Juni 2007)