Novels showcasing the power of the writing emerging across the whole breadth of Asia were put on display today as the fifteen books longlisted for the 2012 Man Asian Literary Prize were unveiled (December 4, 2012).
A record number of 108 published novels were submitted for Asia’s most prestigious literary prize with the longlisted books spread right across Asia from Turkey to Japan.
Migration of rural Chinese workers to Shenzhen, the difficult transition of Bombay to Mumbai, the far reaching consequences of Mao’s Cultural Revolution as well as struggles with identity and assimilation in the shadow of the Vietnam War, all feature in the 2012 longlist which includes three debut novelists and seven books appearing in English translation.
Nine different Asian countries are represented, many of them seen afresh through the eyes of women, migrants and story-tellers on the margins. The list also includes an early intricate and stunning book by Nobel Prize winner Orhan Pamuk, now appearing in English for the first time.
The longlisted novels are:
1. Goat Days – Benyamin (India)
2. Between Clay and Dust – Musharraf Ali Farooqi (Pakistan)
3. Another Country – Anjali Joseph (India)
4. The Briefcase – Hiromi Kawakami (Japan)
5. Thinner Than Skin – Uzma Aslam Khan (Pakistan)
6. Ru – Kim Thúy (Vietnam / Canada*)
7. Black Flower – Young-Ha Kim (South Korea)
8. Island of a Thousand Mirrors – Nayomi Munaweera (Sri Lanka)
9. Silent House – Orhan Pamuk (Turkey)
10. Honour – Elif Shafak (Turkey)
11. Northern Girls – Sheng Keyi (China)
12. The Garden of Evening Mists – Tan Twan Eng (Malaysia)
13. The Road To Urbino – Roma Tearne (Sri Lanka / U.K.*)
14. Narcopolis – Jeet Thayil (India)
15. The Bathing Women – Tie Ning (China)
* These writers are eligible under the Prize’s new rule governing cases in which writers have lost their Asian nationality through state action.
Award winning literary critic, journalist and Chair of Judges, Maya Jaggi, said, “The far-ranging stories on our longlist draw the reader into some beautiful and some grueling landscapes: 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. I am delighted to see that range reflected in the breadth of original languages on our list, with novels translated from Chinese, Japanese and Korean, as well as Turkish, French and Malayalam.”
Joining Maya Jaggi as Prize Judges for 2012 are award winning Vietnamese-American novelist Monique Truong and novelist Vikram Chandra, most notably winner of the Commonwealth Writers Prize.
The shortlist of 5 or 6 titles will be announced on January 9th 2013. The winner, who will receive USD 30,000, will be announced on March 14th 2013 at a black tie Prize Dinner in Hong Kong, the home of the Prize.
Last year’s winner, Please Look After Mom by South Korean writer Kyung-sook Shin has gone on to sell over 2m copies worldwide. Previous winners of the Prize include Bi Feiyu (2010), Su Tong (2009), Miguel Syjuco (2008) and Jiang Rong (2007).
Following the announcement of the 2012 winner in March 2013, the current sponsor Man Group will relinquish its title sponsorship. As of April 2013 a new title sponsor will sponsor the Asian Literary Prize.