Friday, May 14, 2010

List Readers, Take Note

I was very excited to learn of the Man Asian Prize, which has been around for a couple of years but just showed up on my radar. All the details are available here.

I have been wanting to learn more about non-Western cultures, and this looks like my chance to dip into novels written by citizens (or permanent residents, in some cases) of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, East Timor, India, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, North Korea, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, The Hong Kong or Macau Special Administrative Regions, The Maldives, The People's Republic of China, or Vietnam.

Once could certainly argue that these novels should stand alone, instead of having their own special category, as though they somehow don't measure up against other fiction from other geographical areas. I've certainly heard this argument about the Orange Prize, which is limited to female authors. There is some merit to it.

But if a special prize for Asian fiction brings recognition to these authors and books that they might otherwise not receive, well, maybe the compromise of principles is worth it. This prize certainly will induce me to read books that I would probably have overlooked without it.


  1. Oh, I so agree, I hadn't heard of it either. From a getting the word out perspective I think it is a great one! New books on the list!

  2. Thanks for the info. I went to the website that you posted and it was very interesting. SOmof the shortlisted authors wouldn't have been published in the US if they hadn't been shortlisted for the award.


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