International-level Borneo Book Village could give Sarawak much needed reading ecosystem

By Jude Toyat
[email protected]
@judetbpseeds

Children cheering at the launch of the Sarawak Book Award.

Children cheering at the launch of the Sarawak Book Award.

If all goes as planned, the National Book Foundation (YPBN) looks forward to begin construction on the ‘Borneo Book Village’, an international-level integrated book centre in Kuching in the near future.

According to its chairman Hasan Hamzah, the Borneo Book Village will be realised once they receive approval from the state government.

“We are looking at building a village of Borneo books here and if the state government is willing to allocate land and funding for its implementation, it will be built starting this year,” he said, adding that they already have a team for its implementation and are currently in the process of refining the plan to suit the site.

Raghad presenting the ‘Tokoh Buku Sarawak’ award to Dr Jeniri Amir.

Ragad presenting the ‘Tokoh Buku Sarawak’ award to Dr Jeniri Amir.

Pending approval by the state government, YPBN is willing to provide books while other matters regarding the ‘Borneo Book Village’ will be discussed in detail with relevant parties.

“Book enthusiasts, publishers and authors come here often to get local books. Therefore, we need to have an ecosystem for them to get the correct information such as books of heritage,” he said when met by reporters during the Sarawak Book Award held at Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK) on March 16.

“It is high time for Sarawak to implement the ‘Borneo Book Village’ that will consist of book centre, spaces for authors and book clubs meetings which will help to attract more visitors to the state especially among the scholars and students,” Hasan said of the project that could be the first international-level book village in Malaysia.

Group photo of dignitaries and attendees of the award ceremony. Also seen is the National Book Foundation (YPBN) chairman Hasan Hamzah (back row, second right).

Group photo of dignitaries and attendees of the award ceremony. Also seen is the National Book Foundation (YPBN) chairman Hasan Hamzah (back row, second right).

Judging by the response for the inaugural Sarawak Book Expo here, Hasan also mentioned that they are looking forward to building a permanent site for the expo and this will also be proposed to be built near BCCK.

Hasan also opined that to ensure Malaysia is at the forefront of book publication, there must be a focus on accuracy of writing not on defamatory write-ups.

“We can help the country to develop with the correct write-ups. Incentives in the forms of awards such as trophies, certificates and cash can also be provided. Thus, we need the support of not only from the state government but also corporate organisations,” he added.

Raghad is reading text to officiate the Sarawak Book Expo and the award ceremony.

Ragad reading a text to officiate the Sarawak Book Expo and the award ceremony.

During the inaugural Sarawak Book Award, seven recognition awards were presented to prominent figures in the Sarawak writing scene that include Dr Jeniri Amir (Tokoh Buku Sarawak), Datu Dr Adi Badiozaman Tuah (Tokoh Penulis Sarawak), Roslan Jamel (Pengarang Prolifik), Zainal Abidin Ismail (Buku Puisi Terbaik through his book entitled ‘Membentuk Elok Di Teluk Esok’), Radzemah Bolhassan (Novelis Terbaik), Jong Chian Lai (Novel Terbaik through his book entitled ‘Ah Fook’), and Hamsurie Waslie (Penjilid Buku Terbaik through ‘The House of Book Bindery’) by the Head of State’s wife Toh Puan Datuk Patinggi Ragad Kurdi Taib. Ragad also launched the World Book Day at the ceremony.

Ten semi-finalists of ‘National Book Award: Telenovela Award’ were also announced at the ceremony and they include Hasrudi Jawawi with his novel entitled ‘Cucur Bawang & Kopi ‘O’’, Aliesha Kirana (Love You Mr Arrogant), E-Man Sufi (Bukan Kerana Aku Tak Cinta), Ana Sofiya (Suami Sebelah Rumah), Hanina Abdullah (Projek Memikat Suami), Umie Nadzimah (Dia…Isteri Luar Biasa), Liyana Zahim (Rindu Awak 200%), Nur Ain Al Abbas (Hati Perempuan), Evelyn Rose (The Wedding Breaker), and Hana Ilhami (Ya Maulana).

Out of the 20 novels chosen earlier, only 10 managed to grab their spots to compete at the grand final ceremony to be held at Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC) on June 3 in conjunction with the National Book Awards 2016.The panel of selectors for this award include Prof Datuk Wira Latiff Abu Bakar, Hamzah Hamdani, Dr Shamsudin Othman, Saifulzan Yahaya, and Jaafar Hamdan and this award aims at acknowledging novelists and writers that did an excellent job in adapting their books into television series.

Besides that, 19 books of various genres by 14 Sarawakian writers and published work at the Malaysian Institute of Translation and Books were also launched at the ceremony which include books by Rosani Hiplee ‘Membusur Jantung Bidadari dan Titik’, Roslan Jamel (Di Dalam Mulutnya Ada Kota), Jong Chian Lai (Seorang Seekor Lelaki), Dahiri Saini (Nyonya Tembikai dan Sayap), Benyamin Matussin (Ladang Sukma), Jais Sahok (Maafkan Aku Ya Tuhan, and Libau Rentap Bukan Penyerahan dan Rongkok), Jemat Gani (Setelah Hadirku), Dr Jeniri Amir (Menulis Biografi dan Masyarakat Melanau di Sarawak), Mohd Ali Salim (Rebahnya Pohon Rambutan), Radzemah Bolhassan (Sejadah Ibadah), Yong Chan Fwu (Insan Mulia), Dr Poline Bala (Masyarakat Kelabit), Nur Ilyani Alias (Buntal Pisang), and Jaya Ramba (Pendekar Rimba).

All 19 works will are available for online purchasing at ecommerce.itbm.com.my or www.itbm.com.my. Purchases can also be made via Whatsapp at 019-2219015.

Also attending the ceremony were Chief Minister’s wife Datin Patinggi Datuk Jamilah Anu, deputy prime minister’s wife and patron of ‘Anugerah Buku Negara: Anugerah Telenovela 2016’ Datin Seri Utama Hamidah Khamis, and DUN Speaker’s wife Datin Amar Fatimah Iskandar.

The ceremony was held in conjunction with the Sarawak Book Expo that was being held at Borneo Convention Centre Kuching until March 20.

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