10 World-Renowed Malaysian Writers Who Might Just Win The Next Nobel Prize In Literature
1. Zen Cho, who is currently based in London, won the William L. Crawford Fantasy Award in 2015 for her unique collection of Malaysian speculative fiction
Zen Cho's 'Spirits Abroad' earned her the William L. Crawford Fantasy Award alongside Stephanie Feldman after their works tied for the honour. She is the first Malaysian to have won the award. Cho was previously nominated for the John W. Campbell award for best new writer in 2013.
The 30-year-old writes science fiction and fantasy (SFF) with occasional forays into romance.
Her short stories and novelettes are always Malaysian and they have been published in anthologies, literary journals, magazines, newspapers and webzines, including Esquire Malaysia and local publisher Fixi Novo.
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2. Tan Twan Eng, a Penang-born lawyer-turned-author, became the first Malaysian recipient for the Asian Literary Prize with his second novel, 'The Garden of Evening Mists'
Tan Twan Eng is a former intellectual property lawyer who began writing his debut debut novel 'The Gift of Rain' while he was studying for a master's degree in law at the University of Cape Town. The book was long-listed for he Man Booker Prize in 2007 and it has been translated into Italian, Spanish, Greek, Romanian, Czech and Serbian.
His second novel 'The Garden of Evening Mists made history by edging out Orhan Pamuk to become the first ever Malaysian recipient of the coveted Man Asian Literary Prize. Tan went on to beat crowd favorite Hilary Mantel to win the GBP 25,000 Walter Scott Prize for best historical fiction.
Like Tan Twan Eng on Facebook here!
3. Malim Ghozali PK is nominated in the International Dublin Literary Award 2016 along the likes of author Haruki Murakami, Sue Monk Kidd and Paulo Coelho
Malim Ghozali PK, whose real name is Mohamed Ghazali Abdul Rashid, is being nominated for the International Dublin Literary Award 2016 for his novel 'Tree of Sorrow'.
The novel was originally written and published in Malay as ‘Luka Nering’.
Malim has won multiple accolades for his works including an ESSO-GAPENA Literary Prize, a Public Bank Literary Award, the Berita Publications Literary Prize, and two Malaysian Literary Prizes.
4. Nazehran Jose Ahmad, a Kelantanese currently residing in Johor, is the other Malaysian nominee for the International Dublin Literary Award 2016
Using the pen name Nazehran Jose Ahmad, Nasran Ahmad bin Hizam has more than 10 years of writing experience. He has published published eight publications in Malay, including three novels and five children books.
His self-published book 'The Michelangelo Code' was translated from Malay by Anis Mansor and it has been long-listed for the International Dubling Literary Award 2016.
5. Dr. Farish Ahmad Noor was shortlisted for the International Convention of Asia Scholars (ICAS) Book Prize Award in 2013 for his academic work that deals with political Islam
Dr Farish Ahmad Noor was shortlisted for the International Convention of Asia Scholars (ICAS) Book Prize Award (Social Sciences) with his work 'Islam on the Move: The Tablighi Jama’at in Southeast Asia'.
Born in Penang, Dr Farish is a prolific academician and historian with a background in philosophy. He has published several books on political activism and religion in Asia, and is currently the Associate Professor for the Contemporary Islam Programme at the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore.
6. Steven Steel (Tey Feng Nian), an 18-year-old Penangite, triumphed over 75,000 entries to win the 2015 Wattys Award for Best Use of Visuals for his science fiction novel 'Someone’s In My Head'
When he was still in high school, Steven penned his first book 'Pentalements', a science fiction story. He went on to publish as a paperback and has sold over 1000 copies.
Steven's second novel, 'Someone’s In My Head' won a prestigious Watty, an award by Wattpad the “world’s largest online community of readers and writers”. The novel has also gotten more than 230,000 reads and 13,000 votes on Wattpad (at press time).
'Someone’s In My Head' is the first installment in The Wickernham Trilogy, and Steven is now working on the sequels.
Like Steven Steel's Facebook page here!
7. Rani Manicka, an economics graduate, won the Commonwealth Writers Prize in 2003 with her first novel
Infused with her own Sri Lankan family history, Rani Manicka's debut novel 'The Rice Mother' is a vivid imaginative story about the frailties of human nature and consequences of war.
The book won her the Commonwealth Writers Prize for South East Asia and South Pacific region in 2003, making her the first Malaysian to ever win that award.
Like Rani Manicka on Facebook here.
8. Tash Aw is one of the most decorated Malaysian author, having won the Commonwealth Writers Prize and Whitbread Book Awards for First Novel Award
Tash Aw was born in Taipei but he grew up in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and currently resides in London.
His 2005 debut, 'The Harmony Silk Factory' made the Man Booker Prize, International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and the Guardian First Book Prize longlist. The book, which has been translated into 23 languages, won a Commonwealth Writers Prize and the Whitbread First Novel Award.
Aw also wrote 'Map of the Invisible World' and 'Five Star Billionaire', with the latter earning Aw his second Man Booker Prize nomination.
9. Dina Zaman took 13 years to complete her book, 'King of The Sea' but it's proven to be worthwhile because it was long-listed for the Frank O’Connor Short Story Award in 2012
Inspired her by homesickness and her longing for the 'Terengganu air', Dina Zaman started a project when she was a masters student at Lancaster University in 1993. What she didn't know was that she would take another 13 years before she completed 'King of The Sea', a collection of short stories which was longlisted for Frank O’Connor Short Story Award in 2012.
A recipient of the British High Commissioner Chevening Award in 1998 and the Nippon Foundation’s Asian Public Intellectual Fellowship in 2012, Dina is a regular columnist with extensive experience in public relations and the media industry.
10. Heidi Shamsuddin, a children's book author, won the regional prize for the Eye Level Children’s Literature Competition with her short story 'Johan the Bee Hunter' in 2012
Heidi was a lawyer in the United Kingdom and a café owner in Malaysia before she ventured into writing children's books. After winning the Eye Level Children’s Literature Competition in 2012, she completed her ‘Door Under the Stairs’ series, published by Oyez Books.
Despite her early love for children’s books, Heidi didn’t set out to write exclusively for children in the beginning.
“I wrote on a variety of themes for both adults and children, but over time I found that I naturally gravitated towards stories for children." Heidi said.
Follow Heidi on Facebook here.
These are just some of MANY talented Malaysian writers that we know. While we can't name everyone out there, do share with us if you're a fan of any writer who isn't on this list in the comments below!