Here it is, kids – the moment you’ve all been waiting for. The announcement of who we’ve picked as the winner of the Shadow Man Asian Literary Prize.
In true, reality television style, I’m going to draw out the tension by mentioning a few things first.
Thanks to everyone else on the jury who, like me, has spent the last few months, reading the books on the longlist, and then the shortlist, and then the (surprisingly short) deliberations and conversations we had about who should win. I won’t get into boring details, but let’s just say many things surprised me when it came time to decide. In a good way, I hasten to add. So, thank you, Mark, Stu, Sue, Fay, and above all, our intrepid leader, Lisa.
Thanks also to the real Man Asian Literary Prize team – David Parker, the head of the Prize, thinks we’re important enough to mention in a press conference, and even came to this site and chatted with me about the Prize.
And so, without further ado, here it is. The winner of the Shadow Man Asian Literary Prize 2011 is:
Please Look After Mother, by Kyung-sook Shin.
When it came to judging, this was the novel that most of us enjoyed the most, and as such, there was a surprisingly quick consensus. It is a book I read before I knew I was going to be taking on this project, and even then, it stuck in my mind. It is a novel that deals with themes and concepts that have certainly been explored before – urban drift, the fracture of family in the modern era – but it does so with such honest thought, and in a surprising way, that it remains an affective book. If you get a chance, please go out and find it.
I have no idea which of the shortlisted novels will win the real prize later this week, but I wait with baited breath to find out.
See you all next year, yes?