The London-based financial services company Man Group recently announced that Chinese novelist Jiang Rong is the winner of the first Man Asian Literary Prize. His novel Wolf Totem, first published in Chinese, is scheduled for a March 2008 release by Penguin Press. The book, set in Inner Mongolia during the Cultural Revolution, draws on the author's experience living with the nomadic communities in the Chinese border grassland region. It has already sold two million copies in China. Jiang received $10,000; the book's translator, Howard Goldblatt, was awarded $3,000.
Four other writers were shortlisted for the prize: Jose Dalisay, Jr. of the Philippines for Soledad's Sister, Reeti Gadekar of New Dehli for Families at Home, Nu Nu Yi Inwa of Myanmar for Smile As They Bow, and Xu Xi of Hong Kong for Habit of a Foreign Sky. Each finalist received $3,000.
Judge Adrienne Clarkson praised Wolf Totem as "a masterly work" and "a passionate argument about the complex interrelationship between nomads and settlers, animals and human beings, nature, and culture."
The prize, which will be awarded annually, is given for Asian fiction and nonfiction that is unpublished in English.