Asian Literary Prize Longlist Announced

HONG KONG ~ A total of 21 unpublished works of fiction have been longlisted for a prestigious literary prize for Asian literature, the event organizer announced this week.

The works were picked from a total of 143 submissions made to the 2008 Man Asian Literary Prize, said the organizer in a statement. It said that the largest single group of submissions came from India, which was followed by the Philippines.

“The longlist, which contains unpublished works from throughout the region from Japan to Pakistan, demonstrates once again the depth and diversity of Asian contemporary writing,” the statement said.

The award was launched in 2007 to bring new Asian literature to the attention of the international publishing community. It is backed by the same company that sponsors the prestigious Man Booker prizes.

“We were pleased that many of the works on last year’s longlist were published or are scheduled for publication, and we hope that highlighting Asian writers will have a similar effect this year and in the years to come,” the organizer said.

A panel of judges, chaired by former Governor General of Canada Adrienne Clarkson, will announce a shortlist of works in October. The winner, to be unveiled in November 13, will be awarded US$10,000.

The prize was awarded last year to retired Chinese academic Jiang Rong for his work Wolf Totem. The fiction was based on his experience of living in the Chinese-Mongolian border region during the Cultural Revolution in the 1970s, as part of the Communist Party’s drive to encourage intellectuals to live among the rural poor.

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