Usman Awang

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Usman Awang

Usman Awang (12 July 1929 in Kuala Sedili, Johore – 29 November 2001 in Kuala Lumpur) was a Malaysian poet, playwright and novelist. Malaysian National Laureate (1983). He was born into a penniless family in Johore, and had worked as a coolie and served as a policeman when he was young. He was good at writing traditional Pantun poems. His career began in 1946, and he was a nucleus member of Angkatan Asas 50.[1]

The prominent Malaysian critic Syed Husin Ali, one of his closest friends, wrote this about him: "Usman is popularly considered, and most justifiably too, as perhaps the best poet in the Malay language. Most important, he is accepted without question as a people’s poet. Writing since 1955, Usman did not produce a very large corpus of poetry, only about 200 of them. But the man, his personality, his poetry and his ideas have a much deeper and wider influence than that number would suggest. Much of his poems are simple, clear, often romantic, and just beautiful. He is a master at weaving words into striking phrases, sentences and verses that are of exceptional classical beauty and sometimes appear to be nostalgic and even escapist."[2]

Usman Awang died of heart attack on 29 November 2001 in Kuala Lumpur. He was buried at Bukit Kiara Muslim Cemetery, Kuala Lumpur.


Several places and honours were named after him, including:

  • Sekolah Kebangsaan Dato Usman Awang, a primary school at Kampung Kota Kechil in Kota Tinggi, Johor.
  • Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Dato' Usman Awang, a secondary school which was formerly known as Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Taman Perling located at Taman Perling in Johor Bahru, Johor.
  • Jalan Dato' Usman Awang, a road in Sedili, Johor.


  1. ^ Syed Husin Ali. "Asas 50 dan cita-cita kemasyarakatannya" – Bengkel Asas 50 dan Sastera Melayu Moden (22–23 Aug 1980). Kuala Lumpur: DBP, 1980
  2. ^


  • Pogadaev, Victor. “Bapa Sastera Melayu Moden” (The Father of Modern Malay Literature). – “Berita Hrian”, 5 December 2001.
  • Pogadaev, Victor. “‘Dari Bintang ke Bintang’ papar kekuatan puisi Usman” ("From One Star To Another" Shows the High Level of Usman' Poetry). – ”Berita Harian”, 16 March 2002.
  • Zurinah Hassan, Sasterawan negara Usman Awang (National Laureate Usman Awang). Kuala Lumpur:Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka, 2006. ISBN 978-983-62-9164-6
  • Muhammad Haji Salleh. Seorang Penyair, Sebuah Benua Rusuh: Biografi Usman Awang (A Poet and Revolting Continent: Usman Awang' Biography). Kuala Lumpur: Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka, 2006. ISBN 983-62-8759-0, ISBN 978-983-62-8759-5
  • Usman Awang: Penghubung Sastera Moden Dengan Akar Tradisi (Usman Awang: A Linc Between Modern and Traditional Literature). Editor, Hamzah Hamdani. Johore Baru: Yayasan Warisan Johor, 2003. ISBN 983-2440-04-1, ISBN 978-983-2440-04-8
  • Halilah Haji Khalid. Usman Awang Dalam Esei dan Kritikan (Usman Awang in Essays and Ctitics). Kuala Lumpur: Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka, 2004.

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