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Byline: Johan Jaaffar
SOME years ago, I suggested to a minister to produce serials on multiracial Malaysia. I even suggested the novel the series ought to be based on, Interlok (Interlock). Written by National Laureate Abdullah Hussein, it won a prize in the Peraduan Mengarang Novel 10 Tahun Merdeka (10th Year of Independence Novel Writing Competition) organised by Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (DBP).
It was the second major novel writing competition organised by the institution. The first, in 1958, produced a rare gem by 23-year-old unknown A. Samad Said. The novel was Gerhana which was later renamed Salina. Published in 1961, it was one of the best novels ever written in the country and was hailed as the first local work bertaraf antarabangsa (of international standard). With Salina, Malay novels had arrived.
The 1967 competition did not give out major prizes. Four novels were considered worthy of consolation prizes - …