Two Asian authors make Guardian First Book Award 2011 shortlist

The Collaborator by Mirza Waheed and  The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee have both made the shortlist for the 2011 Guardian First Book Award.

The award which recognises the finest new authors who have had their first book published in English in the last year. A winner will be now be selected by a judging panel that includes author and screenwriter David Nicholls.

Commenting on the shortlist, Nicholls said: “It’s hard to imagine a more diverse range of writing than those on the Guardian First Book Award shortlist this year. I found the books ambitious, informative and hugely entertaining, and it’s difficult to believe that these are all first books. Picking a winner will be an extremely tough final decision.”

The shortlist was selected in collaboration with UK wide reading groups, run in partnership with Waterstones bookstores. The reading groups selected their favourite books from the longlist and these suggestions assisted the judging panel in selecting the final shortlist.

Stuart Broom, events programmer, Waterstones, said: “The fiction on this year’s list caused some of the most passionate disagreements between and within the reading groups; readers were fiercely divided as to what makes a great novel. Many of the readers were particularly sensitive to the challenges involved in telling a convincing story from a child’s perspective and it’s great that the two writers that have attempted this have made it on to the shortlist.”

The winning author, who will be announced at a ceremony in London next month, will be given a £10,000 prize plus an advertising package in the Guardian and the Observer.

The complete shortlist:

Pigeon English, Stephen Kelman (Bloomsbury)

The Emperor of All Maladies, Siddhartha Mukherjee (Fourth Estate)

Down The Rabbit Hole, Juan Pablo Villalobos (And Other Stories)

The Collaborator, Mirza Waheed (Viking)

The Submission, Amy Waldman (William Heinemann)