That’s right, kids. The Shadow Man Asian Literary Prize Jury is back! (I prefer the name SMALP.)
Anyway, for those who don’t know who we are, we started last year, following the jury of the Man Asian Literary Prize in their reading of the long- and short-lists, in the hope that other people would read what we were doing, and investigate the books on offer. That’s what we’re here for – we don’t want to step on the actual jury’s toes in any way, but we do want to encourage others to get out there among the vast amounts of great literature coming out of Asia.
Who are we? I’m chairing the jury this year, and will be accompanied by three other intelligent and attractive bloggers:
In case you’re wondering how it works, it goes something like this. Each book on the longlist (announced tonight in Hong Kong) will be read by at least one of us. Each of us will then read every book on the shortlist, which is announced on 9 January. We will somehow come to a decision as to which we think is the best book there, and announce our choice just before the actual winner is announced on 14 March 2013.
For those doubting our taste, we did pick the eventual winner, Please Look After Mother, several days before the real jury did – a surprise to us as much as anyone else. And if you haven’t read it, I can highly recommend it as reading preparation for this year’s Prize.
As for what might be on this year’s longlist: I’ll be surprised if Tan Twan Eng and Jeet Thayil, recently of Man Booker shortlist fame, don’t appear. Other than that, who knows? The MALP casts a huge net, covering something like a third of the world, so there are new authors and new countries to read. Hopefully some gems will be uncovered – certainly if I hadn’t read last year’s longlist, I would have never discovered Tarun J Tejpal or Rahul Bhattacharya, for example. I’m excited.
For those on the Twitter, we’ll be using the hashtag #malprize2012.
For more information on the Man Asian Literary Prize, visit their website.
That’s it for now – we’ll all be back later tonight when the longlist is announced, 6pm HKT, 9pm AEDST.