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Sarawakian Law Student Wins UK Children’s Book Prize With Debut Novel

Sarawakian Law Student Wins UK Children’s Book Prize With Debut Novel

Nadia Mikail’s The Cats We Meet Along the Way is inspired by her time being far from home and her family during the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Sarawakian author Nadia Mikail won the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize with her debut novel entitled The Cats We Meet Along the Way.

Nadia, who’s currently studying law in London, won the older readers category and the overall prize of £5,000 (RM27,236).

The story is about a family’s trip across Malaysia during the impending apocalypse and end of the world.

According to Malay Mail, the story was inspired by her recent Covid-19 pandemic experience when she was far from home and family.

The Guardian described her book as a “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.”

Waterstones’ booksellers voted on the awards. In 2020, the book won the inaugural Young Adult competition held by independent children’s publisher Guppy Books, beating over 400 entries received.

Waterstones head of children’s Florentyna Martin hailed Nadia’s book as a phenomenal debut.

She added that 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. Mikail has ultimately crafted a novel of hope, set against an eventful road trip, that encourages us to share stories and dreams.

Waterstones head of children’s Florentyna Martin

Over on Instagram, Mikail expressed that she was at a loss for words when she was announced the winner and thanked everyone who helped her in her journey as an author.

The story is so dear to my heart. I put so much of me in it: so many memories, so much hope, a huge complicated mix of emotions. Receiving this award is life-changing, but knowing that you had such faith in it is also a warm, bright feeling that will stay with me forever.

Nadia Mikail

She also congratulated the other winners of the night, M.T. Khan and Kim Hillyard.

M.T. Khan’s fantasy adventure story ‘Nura and The Immortal Palace’ won the young readers category and Kim Hillyard’s ‘Gretel The Wonder Mammoth’ won the illustrated books category.

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