Malaysian author Nadia Mikail wins Waterstones children’s book prize
‘The Cats We Meet Along the Way’ wins in the older readers category, the overall prize and £5,000
MALAYSIAN author Nadia Mikail was announced the overall prize winner and older readers’ category for the prestigious Waterstones Children’s Book prize for her debut fiction ‘The Cats We Meet Along the Way’.
She was awarded a cash prize of £5,000 (about RM27,230). The novel tells the story of Aisha and her family ‘who, with the world due to end imminently, embark on an eventful road trip across Malaysia to find her estranged sister June’.
Mikail said ‘The Cats We Meet Along the Way’ was inspired by the pandemic and being away from home. She studied law in London.
She said she wrote the book “as sort of a worst-case scenario situation, like what would happen if the apocalypse was about to happen, and I was away from my loved ones”.
“In the midst of trying to kind of work out those anxieties through writing, I realised the only thing we can do is care for the people we love every day and hope for a better future for them even when things seem hopeless,” she added.
Florentyna Martin, Waterstones head of children’s, said the prose of The Cats We Meet Along the Way “sparkles in the growing market for older readers”.
“Booksellers were overwhelmed by the tenderness woven through each chapter; the moments of silence between the characters are as truthful and evocative as their conversations,” she continued.
“Mikail has ultimately crafted a novel of hope, set against an eventful road trip, that encourages us to share stories and dreams.”
The winner of the illustrated books category was Kim Hillyard for Gretel the Wonder Mammoth while the younger readers award was won by MT Khan for her fantasy adventure story Nura and the Immortal Palace.
The winning titles were chosen from shortlists announced last month. The Waterstones Children’s Book Prize is voted for by Waterstones booksellers, with the winning books promoted across the retail chain’s stores.
Last year’s overall winner was The Last Bear by Hannah Gold, which saw an increase in sales of 434% across Waterstones after its win.
source – The Vibes