Man Asian Literary Prize

Prize aims to nurture writers in the region

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 14 March, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 14 March, 2006, 12:00am

A major new literary prize to recognise the work of Asian writers was launched last night at the Man Hong Kong International Literary Festival.

The Man Asian Literary Prize, which aims to bring the work of Asian writers to the attention of the international literary community, will first be awarded in autumn next year.

Matt Dillon, regional managing director of Man Investments, Asia-Pacific, said: 'Through this prize we aim to foster the publication of new Asian voices in English and to help make those voices more widely heard.'

Man Group, along with festival organisers, are behind the new award.

'One of the most important tasks facing our world in recent times has been for the English-speaking peoples to have a better understanding of Asian society and culture. We very much hope this prize will encourage that activity,' Mr Dillon said.

'This is the fourth year as sponsor of the literary festival and it just keeps getting better and better. It demonstrates Hong Kong can offer world-class cultural events.'

Peter Gordon, director of the Man Hong Kong International Literary Festival, said Asian writers were becoming increasingly significant on the world literary scene.

'Asia has become an important source of new writing for major international publishers and this award will help facilitate publishing and translation of Asian literature into English,' he said.

'Since the purpose of this prize is to facilitate publication and translation rather than to merely reward existing publication activity, the prize will focus on new works as yet unpublished in English.'

Mr Gordon said publishing in Asia was underdeveloped. 'In the west, a list of published books is a good proxy for what's actually been written, which is not necessarily so in Asia. The idea is to reward good writing rather than publication.'

Eligibility and prize money for the new award will be finalised over the coming months.