November 1, 2011

2011 Man Asian Literary Prize longlist includes two Melville House titles


The longlist for the 2011 Man Asian Literary Prize was announced over the weekend, and we here at Melville House were thrilled to see two out of the 12 titles were ours — The Lake, by Banana Yoshimoto (and translated by Michael Emmerich), and The Colonel, by Mahmoud Dowlatabadi (which was translated by Tom Patterdale, and is forthcoming next year, but in the meantime we also published Dowlatadbadi’s Missing Soluch). The prize is for “the best novel by an Asian writer, either written in English or translated into English, and published in the previous calendar year.”

In a press release, the organizers called the list “the most diverse to be announced in its five year history, showcasing a panoply of tales from right across Asia.”

Here’s the full list:

• JAMIL AHMAD, Pakistan – The Wandering Falcon (Penguin India/Hamish Hamilton)
• TAHMIMA ANAM, Bangladesh – The Good Muslim (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)
• MAHMOUD DOWLATABADI, Iran – The Colonel (US: Melville House, UK: Haus Publishing)
• AMITAV GHOSH, India – River of Smoke (John Murray/Penguin India/Hamish Hamilton)
• HARUKI MURAKAMI, Japan -1Q84 (Harvill Secker)
• ANURADHA ROY, India- The Folded Earth (Quercus/Maclehose Press/Hacehette India)
• KYUNG-SOOK SHIN, South Korea – Please Look After Mom (Alfred A. Knopf)
• TARUN J TEJPAL, India – The Valley of Masks (HarperCollins India/4th Estate)
• YAN LIANKE, China – Dream of Ding Village (Grove Atlantic)
• BANANA YOSHIMOTO, Japan – The Lake (Melville House)

“What this longlist shows is that if we are looking for books of the epic scale and stature of the great European nineteenth century novels, we must turn to Asia,” David Parker, chair of the directors of the prize. He says the nominees “have a scale and ambition we don’t often see in Western writing these days. Could it be that as the world’s economic centre of gravity is moving eastwards, so too is its artistic energy and ambition?”

A shortlist of 5 or 6 titles will be announced in January, and the winner will be announced in March. The winning author gets $30,000, and the translator, if there is one, gets $5,000.

Dennis Johnson is the founder of MobyLives, and the co-founder and co-publisher of Melville House. Follow him on Twitter at @mobylives