KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 4, 2016:

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has challenged the nation’s fiction writers to push their imagination further and win accolades, including the Nobel Prize for literature.

He said efforts to promote their works at an international level should be done with the help of publishers and other relevant parties.

Ahmad Zahid said this was an aspiration for the country which would celebrate a century of independence by 2057.

“We want to open our minds to the possibility of fiction writers turning their works into telenovellas as they must also be on the frontlines.

“There have been many of them who have turned their works into telenovellas, which is a good development and I congratulate them.

“Although the telenovellas have been accepted by the public, we are still in a small shell which has yet to be wider.

“We can see examples (of fictional works) that have been a hit at the box office, such as Harry Potter or Winter Sonata, or a number of other telenovellas that were not only from Asian countries, but from Iran.”

Ahmad Zahid said this during his speech at the 2015 National Book Development Foundation Awards and Scholars Appreciation Ceremony at the Putra World Trade Centre here this afternoon.

He said local publishers, although relatively small when compared with their international competitors, should look into the possibility of working with global companies and film directors to produce materials for global audiences.

“They must look into ways to synergise with international publishers and film producers to raise the prestige of (local) works.

“If we do not take the first step, it will be impossible to complete the journey of a thousand miles.”

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