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Unprecedented Seven Books Shortlisted for Man Asian Literary Prize

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A blog from: Poets & Writers Magazine

Posted by Prize Reporter on 1.10.12

The final seven writers up for the 2011 Man Asian Literary Prize, the shortlist for which is typically narrowed down to only five titles, were announced earlier today. The annual thirty-thousand-dollar prize, once awarded for an unpublished manuscript, is now given for a novel written in or translated into English and authored by a citizen of one of thirty-five eligible Asian countries and territories.

Of the shortlisted titles below, selected by judges Razia Iqbal, Chag-rae Lee, and Vikas Swarup, four were written in English. The novels by authors from China, South Korea, and Japan are translations.

The Wandering Falcon (Penguin India) by Jamil Ahmad of Pakistan
Rebirth (Penguin India) by Jahnavi Barua of India
The Sly Company of People Who Care (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) by Rahul Bhattacharya of India
River of Smoke (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) by Amitav Ghosh of India, who recently won the Blue Metropolis Literary Grand Prix
Please Look After Mom (Knopf) by Kyung-sook Shin of South Korea
Dream of Ding Village (Grove Atlantic) by Yan Lianke of China
The Lake (Melville House) by Banana Yoshimoto of Japan

“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 nineteenth century Canton," said Iqbal in a press release. "This power and diversity made it imperative for us to expand the 2011 Man Asian Literary Prize shortlist beyond the usual five books.”

The winner, who will join the ranks of writers such as Bi Feiyu (Three Sisters) and Miguel Syjuco (Ilustrado), will be announced on March 15.

In the video below, Kyung-sook Shin reads from her shortlisted novel, along with a translator, at the Bowery Poetry Club in New York City.

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