HONG KONG, 15 March 2012 – Kyung-sook Shin has tonight become the first woman to win the Man Asian Literary Prize, Asia’s most prestigious award for writers, for her novel ‘Please Look After Mom’.
The South Korean novelist attended the black tie Prize Dinner at The Conrad Hotel in Hong Kong to receive the award of US$30,000. The translator of the novel, Chi-Young Kim also received US$5,000.
The win is the first for a South Korean writer, and ‘Please Look After Mom’ is the first novel by a South Korean to make it to the Man Asian Literary Prize shortlist in the Prize’s five year history.
‘Please Look After Mom’ is a deeply moving story of a family’s search for their mother, who goes missing one afternoon amid the crowds of the Seoul Station subway. It offers the reader an insight into traditional family life in contemporary South Korea and has already sold 1.93m copies in South Korea alone – a country with a population of just under 50m people. Following the shortlisting, the novel is now set to be published in 32 countries.
90 books were submitted for the Prize in 2011 with a longlist of twelve being announced in October 2011 and an unprecedented shortlist of seven revealed in January – owing to the strength of Asian literature.
Chair of Judges, Razia Iqbal said, “Please Look After Mom’ is an incredibly moving portrait of what it means to be a mother, but also of the tradition and modernity of the family in South Korea. The novel is a sensitive exploration of the inner life of the family with a very dynamic narrative structure. The story is surprising in its complexity yet has a beating heart at the centre of it.”
Prof. David Parker, Chair of the Board of Directors of the Man Asian Literary Prize said, “’Please Look After Mom’ is a deeply moving, humane and intricately wrought book, at once culturally specific and universal. It is a book that will be loved everywhere.”
Kyung-sook Shin is the author of numerous works of fiction and is one of South Korea’s most widely read and acclaimed novelists. She has been honored with the Manhae Literature Prize, the Dong-in Literature Prize, and the Yi Sang Literary Prize, as well as France’s Prix de l’Inaperçu. ‘Please Look After Mom’ is her first book to appear in English.
A spokesperson for Weidenfeld & Nicolson, the UK Publishers of ‘Please Look After Mom’ reported that “Being shortlisted for the Man Asian Literary Prize provided a large boost to our sales, especially in export territories, as well as renewed publicity at home and abroad.”
Kyung-sook Shin’s agent, Joseph Lee of Korea Literary Management, reports that, while prior to the announcement of the 2011 Shortlist most Korean readers were unfamiliar with the Man Asian Literary Prize, it has since “become a well-known and important literary award” in Korea.
Nominations for the 2012 Man Asian Literary Prize will open at the end of May to publishers of novels by Asian writers from 35 countries.
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About The Man Asian Literary Prize
The Man Asian Literary Prize was founded in 2007. It is an annual literary award given to the best novel by an Asian writer, either written in English or translated into English, and published in the previous calendar year. The judges choose a longlist of 10 to 15 titles announced in October, followed by a shortlist of 5 to 6 titles announced in January, and a winner is awarded in March. The winning author is awarded USD 30,000 and the translator (if any) USD 5,000.
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The original business was founded in 1783. Today, Man Group plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a member of the FTSE 100 Index, with a market capitalisation of around USD3.5 billion.
Man is a signatory to the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) and a member of the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index and the FTSE4Good Index. Man also supports many awards, charities and initiatives around the world.
Man sponsored literary prizes are the Man Booker Prize, the Man Booker International Prize, the Lost Man Booker Prize and the Man Asian Literary Prize.
“We are thrilled that Kyung-sook Shin’s PLEASE LOOK AFTER MOM has won the prestigious Man Asian Literary Prize. PLEASE LOOK AFTER MOM was a New York Times bestseller for Knopf, and widely reviewed and acclaimed. It went into 10 printings in hardcover. The paperback release from Vintage Books on April 10th comes on the heels of the award, an honor we’ll feature in our editions. Ms. Shin is coming to the United States and will be speaking in New York, Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles. The Prize is a tremendous honor for our author, her book, and the Korean community; this is the first time a novel from Korea has been awarded this important international prize, and the first time a woman has won. This important prize will go far in helping to bring the novel into even more lives and hearts.”
Robin Desser, Vice President, Senior Editor, Alfred A. Knopf, The Knopf Doubleday Group, Random House, Inc.
“Kyung sook Shin as the first Korean and first woman to win the Man Asian Prize fulfills the destiny of her magnificent book PLEASE LOOK AFTER MOM, which I discovered three years ago. When I first read the translated opening chapters, I deeply and immediately felt that I was reading a once-in-a-lifetime book and it is so thrilling for the Man Asian Prize to recognize her in this way!”
Barbara J Zitwer, Barbara J Zitwer Agency, Shin’s international literary agent
For one night only, dine with seven of the best Asian writers. Hard to believe but true. In association with the Man Asian Literary Prize, the Hong Kong International Literary Festival brings you a dinner event where you get to listen to the fascinating authors in the running for the 2011 Man Asian Literary Prize.
An unprecedented list of seven novels made it to the 2011 Shortlist. It is a diverse, strong list of debut novelists & million-plus bestsellers representing five Asian countries.
Date: Wednesday, 14 March 2012
Time: 7:30 - 9:30pm
(Registration starts at 7pm; book signing follows at end of event)
Venue: Club Lusitano, 27/F, 16 Ice House Street, Central, Hong Kong
Price: HK$600 (HK$550 for Friends of the Festival)
Tickets are available from Dymocks stores from Monday, 27 Feb onwards. Or you can book directly by sending an email to email@example.com. Friends of the Festival discount is not valid at Dymocks.
Born in Calcutta in 1956, he is the author of the bestselling Sea of Poppies. River of Smoke is the second novel in Ghosh’s Ibis trilogy.
Banana Yoshimoto, The Lake
She is one of the biggest-selling and most distinguised writers in Japanese history. “The novel is a moving glimpse into the nature of an unconventional relationship.” Prize Judges.
The 2011 Judges are Razia Iqbal (Chair), BBC Special Correspondent, Chang-rae Lee, Pulitzer-prize finalist & author of The Surrendered, and Vikas Swarup author of Q&A movie adaptation Slumdog Millionaire. Previous winners of the Prize are Jiang Rong for Wolf Totem, Miguel Syjuco for Ilustrado, Su Tong for The Boat to Redemption and Bi Feiyu for Three Sisters. The winner of the 2011 Prize will be announced on March 15, 2012.
An unprecedented seven novels have been shortlisted for the 2011 Man Asian Literary Prize.
- JAMIL AHMAD, Pakistan - The Wandering Falcon (Penguin India/Hamish Hamilton)
- JAHNAVI BARUA, India - Rebirth (Penguin India/Penguin Books)
- RAHUL BHATTACHARYA, India - The Sly Company of People Who Care (Pan Macmillan/Picador India/Picador)
- AMITAV GHOSH, India - River of Smoke (John Murray/Penguin India/Hamish Hamilton)
- KYUNG-SOOK SHIN, South Korea - Please Look After Mom (Random House/Knopf)
- YAN LIANKE, China - Dream of Ding Village (Grove Atlantic)
- BANANA YOSHIMOTO, Japan - The Lake (Melville House)
Four of the shortlisted novels were originally written in English; the novels from South Korea, China and Japan are all judged in translation.
Speaking of the decision Chair Judge, Razia Iqbal said, “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. This power and diversity made it imperative for us to expand the 2011 Man Asian Literary Prize shortlist beyond the usual five books.”
The two other judges for this year’s Prize are Pulitzer-prize finalist and author of The Surrendered, Chang-rae Lee, and Vikas Swarup, author of Q&A which was filmed as the Oscar-winning Slumdog Millionaire.
Tuesday 29th November 2011
The Man Asian Literary Prize is thrilled to let you know that it will be holding the shortlist announcement for the 2011 Prize at a special event at Man Group, London, on 10 January 2012.
The announcement will be twinned with a similar event in Hong Kong, the home of the Prize, and will allow invited guests to celebrate the shortlist simultaneously in both Asia and the West.
Chair Judge Razia Iqbal will announce the shortlist at 10am in London (6pm Hong Kong) which will be broadcast live online at www.manasianliteraryprize.org
David Parker, Chair of the Board of Directors, said, “Bringing Asian literature to the widest possible readership is a key aim of the Man Asian Literary Prize and so it is fitting that we are holding a joint celebration of the shortlist in both London and Hong Kong. Readers from around the world will be able to watch the announcement live and join in the conversation before the winner of the 2011 Man Asian Literary Prize is announced on 15 March 2012 at a Prize Dinner in Hong Kong.”
For enquiries please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Event Partner: Asia House, London