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Location: Dublin, Republic of, Ireland

Tuesday 16 June 2009

"The Gift", by Malaysia's debut novelist Zaipah Ibrahim, published in the States

by Suzan Abrams

A reliable Google search engine and a touch of common sense, tells me that with the exception of her family, friends, students and of course her publisher in the United States and online booksellers worldwide (do count Amazon Japan); few if anyone else in Malaysia currently know that one of their own; modest Malay writer and teacher, Zaipah Ibrahim from her homestate of Terengganu -Malaysia's luscious and scenic East Coast - recently published her first English Language novel, The Gift (ISBN: 9780979357770) with MuslimWritersPublishing in Arizona, America.

Ibrahim stands tall alongside other select international writers producing an eye-catching list of adult and childrens' titles that veer towards the philosophical and would in turn, create Islamic culture as a high point of intrigue for any curious observer.

Priced at £9.59 with Borders UK and $14.95 in the States and available at Barnes and Noble, the 292-page paperback, features a thoughtful if not heart-rending blurb, as easily reminiscent of MuslimWriterPublishing's head, Linda D. Delgado or otherwise affectionately known as Wihad's, poignant choices, as she aims to publish quality literature that heralds and celebrates Islam.

In this respect, Delgado says that she would soon break into other genres, including science fiction and crime for her submission lists.

Meanwhile, The Gift is described as a "love story set in exotic asian Malaysia.". It talks about a mother's last wish for her son, where in her feverish attempts at offering him a gift of a new life, the parent must bravely reopen buried wounds from an unresolved past.

As the novel's foremost thematic approach, The Gift - which represents an almost intangible object - would meander through timelines and lost episodes with the rush of a gushing brook. It would mark a mother's final handover to a son whose life can now be rebuilt where it was once torn from an ill-fated event. The Gift would then turn this young mother's face to her own parent, where through unfortunate circumstances, she had dismally failed to make her mother happy. The Gift would then once more serve as catalyst for the young woman and the dying mother's son to each triumph over their past, while fulfilling another mother's wish.

Zaipah Ibrahim, a graduate of Southern Illinois University at Carbondale in the US, worked as an English lecturer from 1990 – 2001 at the Sultan Zainal Abidin Religious College, Malaysia. She presently owns and manages her own tutorial centre, writes books and teaches the English Language in Malaysia.

Before Ibrahim's manuscript was selected for publication in the States, the author had self-published two other educational children's books Islamic Word Games Books 1 & 2, which were designed to introduce "basic Islamic terminology in English".

From a fellow Malaysian writer in Dublin, Ireland, many congratulations if you read this, Zaipah.

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