BBC World Service - Winner of the 2011 Prize


South Korean novelist announced as first woman to win Man Asian Literary Prize

  Photo Credit: Johnny Gi

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. 

The Prize can be followed on Twitter at @MALPrize and #MALPrize11, as well as on Facebook at

For press enquiries please contact Mr. Harrison Kelly: +(852) 9070 6916 / +(852) 3695 5266

– ENDS –

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.

About Man

Man is a world-leading alternative investment management business. It has expertise in a wide range of liquid investment styles including managed futures, equity, credit and convertibles, emerging markets, global macro and multi-manager, combined with powerful product structuring, distribution and client service capabilities. At 31 December 2011, Man manages USD58.4 billion. 

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. 

Press Release


(SOLD OUT) Meet Man Asian Prize Finalists in Hong Kong

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 Friends of the Festival discount is not valid at Dymocks.


Amitav GhoshRiver of Smoke

Born in Calcutta in 1956, he is the author of the bestselling Sea of PoppiesRiver 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.

Jamil AhmadThe Wandering Falcon
Born in Jalandhar in 1933, The Wandering Falcon, set in the decades before the rise of the Taliban, is his first novel.

Jahnavi BaruaRebirth
She is a medical doctor based in Bangalore. The novel is about a young woman coming to grips with an uncertain marriage.

Rahul Bhattacharya, The Sly Company of People Who Care
A cricket journalist since 2000, his novel, set in Guyana, is “part travelogue, part novel, … both funny and smart”. Prize Judges

Kyung-sook ShinPlease Look After Mom
She is one of Korea’s most widely read and acclaimed novelists. The novel is the stunning, deeply moving story of a family’s search for their mother.

Yan Lianke, Dream of Ding Village
He has won China’s two top literary awards. The book, set in Henan province, is his most important novel to date. 

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. 


Seven novels make Man Asian Literary Prize’s strongest shortlist

An unprecedented seven novels have been shortlisted for the 2011 Man Asian Literary Prize. 

2011 Shortlist

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

Press Release


2011 Man Asian Literary Prize Shortlist Announcement



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

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

Event Partner: Asia House, London

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