Time Out HK

Man Asian Literary Prize

January 10, 2012 by timeouthk

Yan Lianke (連閰科) and six other Asian authors on this year’s shortlist 

Chinese author Yan Lianke is in the final seven for this year’s 2011 Man Asian Literary Prize, Time Out Hong Kong can reveal. The Beijing writer’s novel, Dream of Ding Village (丁莊夢), which was censored upon its original Chinese publication, is in with a shout and, if it’s chosen, it will be the fourth Chinese book to win the prize in the competition’s five-year history. But it will be a tough call for the judges over the next couple of months with an unprecedented seven novels on the shortlist.

The shortlist was announced at a ceremony in London and was relayed back to Hong Kong’s Chater House via videolink on January 10. The final winner will be announced at a gala dinner in Hong Kong in March. All seven books will now go under close scrutiny by a team of expert judges until the official 2011 winner is announced.

Yan Lianke’s novel joins six others on the shortlist:

1. The Wandering Falcon by Pakistan’s Jamil Ahmad

2. Rebirth by India’s Jahnavi Barua


3. The Sly Company of People Who Care by India’s Rahul Bhattacharya

4. River of Smoke by India’s Amitav Ghosh

5. Please Look After Mom (請照顧我媽媽) by South Korea’s Kyung-Sook Shin (申京淑)

6. The Lake by Japan’s Banana Yoshimoto (吉本芭娜娜)

The longlist for the prize - one of the most prestigious literary awards in the world - was published at the end of last year. There were 12 novels in the list. The Good Muslim by Bangladesh’s Tahmima Anam; The Colonel by Iran’s Mahmoud Dowlatabadi; IQ84 by Japan’s Haruki Murakami; The Folded Earth by India’s Anuradha Roy; and The Valley of Masks by India’s Tarunj Tejpal didn’t make the cut for this year’s shortlist. Sadly no Hong Kong novels made the longlist.

It’s the first time as many as seven novels are down on the shortlist. Chairman of the judges, Razia Iqbal, revealed that, because of the strength of contemporary fiction coming out of Asia, the decision had been made to increase the number of writers on the shortlist from the usual five to seven. A total of 90 books were submitted for entry last year, before the longlist was made. Four of the shortlisted novels were originally written in English. The novels from South Korea, China and Japan are all judged in translation.

The judges are Pulitzer-prize finalist and author of The Surrendered, Chang-rae Lee (李昌來), and Vikas Swarup, author of Q&A, which was filmed as the Oscar-winning Slumdog Millionaire. The panel is chaired by BBC special correspondent Iqbal. She says: “The judges were greatly impressed by the imaginative power of the stories now being written about rapidly changing life in worlds as diverse as the arid borderlands of Pakistan, the crowded cityscape of modern Seoul, and the opium factories of 19th century Canton. This power and diversity made it imperative for us to expand the 2011 Man Asian Literary Prize shortlist beyond the usual five books.”

Hong Kong is the home of the prize. The winner will be announced on Thursday March 15 at a gala dinner in the city. The 2010 prize, announced last year, was won by Bi Feiyu for his novel Three Sisters. The Chinese author was named the winner at a ceremony in the Peninsula Hotel, receiving a cash award of US$30,000. He became the third Chinese writer to win the prize in four years. 

Read more about the The shortlisted authors and what the judges said here: http://timeout.com.hk/books/features/47995/man-asian-literary-prize.html 

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