Local 'Oscars for books' awards call on public, experts to vote for winners

PUBLISHED : Friday, 08 August, 2014, 5:28am
UPDATED : Friday, 08 August, 2014, 5:28am

Local books and authors are set to vie for their first merit awards based on voting by experts and the public.

The first Hong Kong Golden Book Award - dubbed the city's "Oscars for books" by the organisers - has shortlisted for competition 158 new titles launched since last year.

Readers can vote online between Monday and August 31 in four categories: literature, comics, health and culture and politics and economics.

The top 10 titles with the most votes from adjudicators and the public will receive a trophy on September 28, according to the organisers, The Hong Kong Tradebook Publishers Association.

Carmen Poon, managing director of Joyful Books, said yesterday: "This exercise is designed to boost the local publishing industry, which is now in a very critical phase because of skyrocketing rent and a change of reading habits in the young generation especially."

She admitted putting an "Oscar" label on the event was "a little exaggeration" for publicity purposes, but "we aim high and believe that the local authors deserve the glory and recognition in their own right".

A non-participating book vendor believed the event needed a more substantial agenda and greater transparency.

Ngan Shun-kau, former chief editor and now senior adviser to Cosmos Books, said he was not aware of the event and was wary of favouritism among small publishers in nominating one another's works.

He also questioned putting popular fiction alongside literary works under the literature category. "But so far as promoting book-reading habits is concerned, I think it is a good thing."

Each of the 32 participating publishers submitted up to three titles in each category.

The award ceremony will be hosted at Plaza Hollywood in Diamond Hill, after which more activities will continue through the first week of October, including a display of the winning works.