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Arts

Malaysian voice captures young readers around the world

Ghosts and race riots dominate in prizewinning author Hanna Alkaf's work

Malaysian novelist Hana Alkaf's work provides a staunchly authentic depiction of her country to international young adult and middle-grade fiction readers. (Photo by Lim Eng Lee)

KUALA LUMPUR -- Beyond being young and Muslim, Malay girls Melati and Suraya share more than their backgrounds initially suggest. Melati, who was a teenager in 1960s Kuala Lumpur, loves The Beatles and watching films featuring the actor Paul Newman. Suraya lives in a nondescript Malay kampong (village) where she inherits a ghost from her grandmother, who is a witch.

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