Before we get into the juicy deets, let me briefly introduce myself – I am Zhe Jing, the UEC Malaysia correspondent! For more information regarding UEC’s dealings, the previous articles should give a good indication to where we are at; nothing much changed since we were hit by the pandemic, and unfortunately, we are still in the thick of it. However, there is light up ahead, in the foreseeable future: yes — MYAA (Malaysia Young Author Awards) 2021!
MYAA 2021 will be the much anticipated follow up to MYAA 2020. If you were not present for MYAA 2020, the following segment will take you through the entire experience; and after that, things to look forward to for MYAA 2021. First, let’s stroll down the memory trail and recount what went down at the very first Young Author Awards in Malaysia!
It all started with a dream… A dream originating from our founder, Catherine Khoo… A dream to fulfil countless kids’ dreams of writing their very own books and sharing their stories and ideas with the world. A dream which evolved into our collective dream — to build the young authors and dreamers of tomorrow.
Since Singapore has been running the annual YAA for years now and produced many success stories of satisfied, published young authors; we wanted to provide the same opportunity for Malaysian kids over here. Thus originated our motivation to host our very own annual MYAA competition. With the cooperation and incredible teamwork between the organiser, Mr. CK Gan, the experienced YAA coach and founder, Ms. Catherine Khoo (or Auntie Cat to the kids), and the passionate organising team; MYAA 2020 was transformed from just an idea, into reality.
We reached out to parents and kids around Malaysia, who were massive story lovers and passionate writers, planting the seeds of authorship in their minds, and fuelling the dreams of publishing the parents and kids never knew they had. It was successful, as we managed to get around 100 kids who were extremely passionate and interested in being part of our dream; because frankly, programmes like this were relatively unheard of in this part of the world.
The hyped-up kids were then tasked with writing a short story based on provided topics; as a sort of initialisation process. After looking through the stories, I was surprised and proud of the amount of creativity oozing from the kids and was extremely excited to see how far they could go.
Next was the workshop, done through Zoom with Auntie Cat, who passed on her knowledge of effective storytelling, and most of all, to help the kids find a purpose in writing — be it to have fun, to fulfil a dream, to gain satisfaction or to pacify an unyielding passion in the written arts. It was truly an honour for me to be able to witness the passion emanating from the workshop, as it was an invigorating experience for the kids since this was a far cry from the academic world they were so accustomed to. Many of the kids also found kindred souls and lifelong friends who shared their passion and dreams; companions whom they could fulfil their dreams with.
Throughout the workshop, the kids had fun, laughed, wrote, shared experiences, wrote, read stories, had more fun, and wrote even more! But alas, all things eventually had to come to an end, and before the kids knew it, they had ‘graduated’ from unsure enthusiasts to aspiring authors.
The final hurdle was for the kids to submit an original story to complete their MYAA journey. The stories were critiqued and reviewed by a panel of judges; and at the end, the top winners were crowned, recognised for their outstanding stories. All the others were provided with feedback and encouragement. All the young authors were then invited to join the annual YAA, to pit their stories against the rest of the world. Each of the kids were one step closer to achieving their goal!
Interested to learn more about MYAA? Do visit our website or follow UEC Malaysia on social media. The winners of MYAA 2020 from last year will be having their very own book launch coming in July, so stay tuned for that!
Friends and families from all over will be able to tune in and listen to their stories and celebrate their achievement. The kids will be one step closer to sharing their imagination and creativity with the rest of the world.
Now, for MYAA 2021, if the journey the kids took last year sparked something in you, then this should be something you can consider. If you are still unsure, but you identify yourself as a story-addict, an avid book fan, or have ‘fantasies’ about being a published author; what are you waiting for? MYAA 2021 is definitely for you!