Literature is Not About Winning Prizes

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Working towards an environment conducive to creative and bold writing should be the national goal. Daydreaming about accolades instead leads nowhere.

A Malaysian writer to win the Nobel Prize for literature by 2057, the 100th anniversary of the country’s independence – that’s the challenge thrown out by Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi at the start of the New Year.

Wishful thinking? Well, at least he’s giving a time span of about 40 years for Malaysia to achieve what seems to be the improbable. Malaysian writers can start building their corpus of work from now to qualify for evaluation by the Nobel Committee a few decades down the road.

You don’t challenge your country to win the Nobel Prize – it sounds gauche.

Yet even so, at the heart of it, something is not right. You don’t challenge your country to win the Nobel Prize – it sounds gauche.


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