KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 22 (Bernama) -- Three local authors - Rejab Ismail, Zainal Abidin Suhaili and Dr Mawar Safei - have been selected as the recipients of the Southeast Asian Writers Award (S.E.A Write Award) for 2016, 2017 and 2018.

Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (DBP) director-general Datuk Abang Sallehuddin Abg Shokeran, in announcing the award recipients at a media conference here today, said the selection of candidates was based holistically and not merely on the work produced.

"The evaluation panel assessed the strength of the work produced and the contribution it has made to the community," he said.

The awards ceremony, which will be held in Bangkok, Thailand on Monday, aims to acknowledge the best poets and writers in the ASEAN region.

 Award recipient for 2016, Rejab Ismail, 78, described the award as a form of appreciation after more than half a century of writing since he was 19.





“To date, I have produced my writings in various genres such as novels (adults, teens and children), short stories, poems, folk tales and essays," said the Perlis-born who has won numerous awards, including The Federation of Writers Associations of Malaysia (Gapena) 2008 cultural icon and the Perlis Language and Literature icon in 2013.

Zainal Abidin Suhaili, 54, or better known as Abizai, the 2017 recipient, said he began writing poetry and articles seriously since the early 1980’s and his efforts has paid off when he was selected to receive the award.

"I have produced a total of nine poems and I plan to publish a collection of poems and essays and critical appreciation in the near future," said the former Malay Literature student of Universiti Sains Malaysia.

His work has been widely published in various newspapers and magazines such as ‘Berita Minggu’ ‘Mingguan Malaysia’, ‘Dewan Sastera’ , ‘Dewan Bahasa’, ‘Utusan Borneo’ and ‘Utusan Sarawak’.

Meanwhile, 48-year-old Johorean, Dr Mawar Safei, a recipient of the same award for 2018, said she began writing in the 90’s and often raised environmental concerns by incorporating data and scientific facts into her works.

Currently holding the position of Associate Professor at the School of Malay Language, Literature and Culture Studies in Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, she also received many literary awards since 1994, including Malaysia Premier’s Literary Award, the Utusan Melayu-Public Bank literary prize and the Malaysian Institute of Translation and Books (ITBM) writing competition.

During her time in the field of writing, Mawar has produced 75 short stories, 200 articles and 100 presentations as well as research studies in literature.