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Author / Writer Spotlight, Book Business

Man Asia Literary Prize Winner 2010 Announced

On the 17th March, the winner of the the 2010 Man Asian Literary Prize 2011 was announced. The winner is Chinese Author Bi Feiyu, for his published first novel “The Three Sisters”.

Bi Feiyu almost didn’t attend the awards ceremony Thursday.

“When I was on the shortlist,” Mr. Bi said last night when he accepted the award, “my friends and the media in China were all saying, ‘Impossible, there’s no way a Chinese writer can get a third one,’” he said, referring to the fact that two of the previous three winners of the Man Asian Literary Prize — Jiang Rong (for “Wolf Totem”) and Su Tong (“The Boat to Redemption”) — were also Chinese. “They said, ‘Don’t even bother going to Hong Kong.’ But I had to come because…I had to show my son that if I did not win, I would still stand there and take it like a man.”

This was the first year that a published novel won the Man Asian prize – a cash award of US$30,000. In the previous three years, only unpublished manuscripts were eligible and the award was then US$10,000.

Interestingly, all three of those winning novels for Man Literary Prize for the past years were translated from Chinese by Howard Goldblatt, a research professor of Chinese at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana and considered one of the world’s foremost translators of Chinese literature. Goldblatt will share a cash prize of $5,000 US with fellow translator Sylvia Li-chun Lin for his work on Three Sisters.

Three Sisters follows three female members of a peasant family that counts seven girls and one boy, as they negotiate the transitions China has undergone. The tale moves from village life through the Cultural Revolution to life in the city.

The Man Asian judges praised Bi for the scope and ambition of his novel, comparing it to the Russian play of the same name by Anton Chekhov.

“A moving exploration of Chinese family and village life during the Cultural Revolution that moves seamlessly between the epic and the intimate, the heroic and the petty — illuminating not only individual lives, but an entire society, within a gripping tale of familial conflict and love,” the jury said of the book in its citation.

The shortlist for this year was:

  • Three Sisters by Bi Feiyu
  • Serious Men by Manu Joseph
  • The Thing About Thugs by Tabish Khair
  • The Changeling by Kenzaburo Oe
  • Hotel Iris by Yoko Ogawa

There are many strong contenders this year and I wouldn’t be surprised if any of them have won.

One more book to my TBR must-read list!

Did it came as a surprise for you?

About JoV

A bookaholic that went out of control.... I eat, sleep and breathe books. Well, lately I do other stuff.


8 thoughts on “Man Asia Literary Prize Winner 2010 Announced

  1. I was a bit surprised when it won. I hadn’t read any of the others, but I felt the last part of this book let it down a bit. I didn’t realise that Goldblatt had translated all the other Chinese winners, but I think that shows the importance oof getting a good translator. I’m sure he’ll be translating even more books after this win and I’ll be keeping an eye out for them as a sign of quality.

    Posted by Jackie (Farm Lane Books) | March 19, 2011, 6:02 pm
    • Jackie,
      I feel the same. I was a bit surprised and have to re-read the news to make sure I am not looking at the shortlist interviews etc.. but it is really Three Sisters which won the prize. Can’t find the book in my local library, but I’ll try Westminster!

      A good translator is a great bridge for international readers! In terms of Arabic books, Humphrey Davies is an award winning translator and translate great Arabic books, esp from Elias Khoury. I also like Jay Rubin for Murakami’s books. I always feel I have to read more books in written in other original languages. 2666 is my first Spanish book, perhaps Suite Francaise my first French novel.

      Thanks for dropping by.

      Posted by JoV | March 19, 2011, 7:30 pm
  2. I’d also recommend keeping an eye out for books translated from the Spanish by Edith Grossman and from the German by Anthea Bell – both fantastic translators. Good luck in your mission to read more books in translation.

    Posted by Jackie (Farm Lane Books) | March 19, 2011, 8:14 pm
  3. I am hearing this prize for the first time. I am entirely new to this prize. Thanks for bringing this to my notice.

    Posted by Geosi | March 21, 2011, 9:14 pm
  4. Geosi, not a problem. You share quite a bit on your regional book prizes as well which is very insightful.

    Posted by JoV | March 21, 2011, 10:43 pm
  5. Nice news, Jo! It looks like Chinese writers are sweeping the Man Asian literary prize 🙂 It is good in a way, because all of us, readers, can know more about Chinese literature now. I was however disappointed that my favourite, Yoko Ogawa, didn’t win the prize. I think that might have to do with the subject of ‘Hotel Iris’. I am sure that if ‘The Housekeeper and the Professor’ had been nominated, she might have won it.

    Posted by Vishy | April 1, 2011, 9:49 am
    • Vishy, I haven’t been reading a lot of Chinese lit for past 1.5 years, it’s time to pick them up. Ms Ogawa had won numerous national prizes, so did Oe, hope they don’t mind missing this one!

      Posted by JoV | April 3, 2011, 12:32 pm

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The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon
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Catching Fire
A Tale for the Time Being
Into the Darkest Corner
The Liars' Gospel
Goat Mountain
Strange Weather In Tokyo
Strange Shores
And the Mountains Echoed
Ten White Geese
One Step Too Far
The Innocents
The General: The ordinary man who became one of the bravest prisoners in Guantanamo
White Dog Fell from the Sky
A Virtual Love
The Fall of the Stone City

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