The poll is now closed
Salaam Dear Reader,
Alhamdulillah. We are pleased to announce our Readers’ Choice 2021 Shortlist. We would like to invite you to vote for the book that has had the most impact on you this year. The poll is open from now till 15 December 2021. Results will be published on 20 Dec 2021 inshaAllah. Poll participants stand to win Wardah vouchers.
There are two trends that can be discerned from the Shortlist this year. One relating to the reader and the other relating to the publishing industry in Singapore. I’ll start with the reader.
We have always been advocates of journaling and so we are happy to see this trend taking off. Two titles on the list, the 99 Names Guided Journal and the Barakah Journal are structured journals that have been meticulously developed to facilitate daily reflection and growth. Moreover, meditative Ramadan journaling has become almost a mainstay of our experience of Ramadan these past years – especially during the pandemic lockdowns of 2020 and 2021.
More people are seeing the benefit of journaling for it allows us to be reflective and honest with ourselves. In contrast, our scattershot postings on social media is, let’s be honest, more performance than reflection. Journaling helps us become better, more active readers, while social media turns us into passive consumers of feeds. But I digress…
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The local Muslim publishing scene is doing well. Five out of the ten titles are either published in Singapore or have been written by Singaporean writers. Four of the local titles are produced by home-grown, independent, Muslim-owned publishing companies. This is so very refreshing, especially for those long enough in the book industry to remember the waves of pessimism that swept though local Muslim publishing in the late 2000s.
These new publishers do not have this baggage of pessimism. They saw the need in the community and stepped up. Helang Books (established 2010), Nawa Books (established 2016), and Homely Hammock (established 2014) have all been diligently working away these past years and the catalogue of books they have built up is impressive.
Because books have such long gestations, publishers have no choice but to take the long view. To this one can add that to survive and be relevant to the community of readers, publishers must have dedication, faith and a robust work ethic. This is not an industry with any measure of ‘quick wins’ or ‘low-hanging fruit’; every milestone is hard-fought.
The three companies – Helang Books, Nawa Books and Homely Hammock – while united in their focus on serving the needs of readers, each fulfil different roles. Helang Books is focussed on Malay culture and heritage. Their book Leluhur: Singapore’s Kampong Gelam won the NUS Singapore History Prize 2021. Nawa Books is run by asatizah and is dedicated to the translation of key Arabic Islamic texts for a contemporary English-speaking audience. Homely Hammock is a children’s book publisher that from its inception has been pushing the envelope when it comes to creativity and imagination, producing authentically grounded books for Muslim children.
Wardah Books is very grateful to be working with these publishers and we hope that together we continue to be of service to readers in our community.
And with that, let the voting begin!
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