Wednesday 5 December 2012

The Man Asian Literary Prize Longlist Announced

Three debut novelists and a Nobel laureate are among the 15 writers to make the long list for Asia's most prestigious literary prize, with entries spread across the region from Turkey to Japan.

The longlist for the $US30,000 Man Asian Literary Prize was drawn from 108 published works from nine different Asian countries, submitted to a panel of judges led by literary critic and journalist Maya Jaggi.

"The far-ranging stories on our longlist draw the reader into some beautiful and some gruelling landscapes," said Jaggi in a statement on Tuesday.

"From the glaciers of northern Pakistan to the unforgiving Saudi desert; from an affluent Istanbul seaside resort to a Bombay opium den - and further afield to Montreal and Mexico."

Silent House, an early work from Turkish writer and 2006 Nobel Prize in Literature winner Orhan Pamuk, made the list after appearing in English for the first time.

Turkey and Iran are among the 35 countries eligible for the prize, which is looking for a new sponsor with London-based Man Group ending its funding for the Asian prize after the 2012 event.

A total of seven books appear in translation, including 'Northern Girls' by Chinese author Sheng Keyi, about a 16-year-old who abandons her Hunan village and heads for the bright lights of Shenzhen.

Other works include two books that were shortlisted for the 2012 Man Booker Prize for Fiction, which was won by record-breaking British author Hilary Mantel for 'Bring up the Bodies' in October.

The Garden of Evening Mists by Malaysia's Tan Twan Eng follows a young law graduate who discovers the only Japanese garden in Malaya and its secretive owner and creator.

Jeet Thayil's Narcopolis, a three-decade exploration of opium addiction, was also shortlisted for the 2012 Man Booker Prize for Fiction and he is one of three Indian authors on the Asian Prize longlist.

'Goat Days' by Benyamin follows the fate of an expat worker in the Gulf who is propelled into a slave-like existence as a goat herder in the middle of the brutal Saudi desert.

Anjali Joseph's 'Another Country', follows a twenty-something woman through Paris, London and Bombay at the dawn of the millennium.

"This list testifies to the strength and variety of new writing coming out of a culturally emergent Asia," said Professor David Parker, executive director of the Asian Literary Prize.

"It is full of stories the world hasn't heard before and which the world needs to hear."

A shortlist of up to six titles will be unveiled in early January before a winner is announced in March.

The Man Asian Literary Prize began in 2007 and is given to the best novel by an Asian writer, either written in English or translated into English.

The 2011 Man Asian Literary Prize was awarded to South Korean author Kyung-sook Shin for her novel Please Look After Mom, a story about a family's guilty soul-searching after the disappearance of their elderly mother that has gone on to sell more than two million copies.

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