Press Statement by the Chief Minister of Penang Lim Guan Eng In Komtar, George Town on 15 June 2013
The Penang state government lauds the unique achievement of Malaysian author Tan Twan Eng for becoming the first writer outside United Kingdom to win the Walter Scott Prize, which honours historical fiction writers. Tan won £25,000 for his post-World War Two novel, “The Garden of Evening Mists”.
Tan was invited two years in a row for the George Town Literary Festival to not only promote book reading through famous writers but also celebrate successful Penang-born authors. Penang has once again displayed its full array of world-class talents not just in science and technology but also in art, heritage and literature.
What is remarkable about Tan’s achievements is that he succeeded on his own without any government support. What is sad is that Tan had to leave Malaysia for a foreign country to gain both recognition and success. Hopefully Tan’s success will help to spur more writers and also the Federal government to set up a mechanism that encourages budding writers both technically as well as financially.
Penang state government will be celebrating book reading and writing at both the George Town Heritage Fest held now until 8 July and the George Town Literary Festival planned at the end of this year.
LIM GUAN ENG