Lit prize seeks new sponsors

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Talks have begun with potential title partners over the sponsorship of our continent’s beloved Man Asian Literary Prize. Man Group Plc, which also sponsors the Man Booker Prize, has decided to relinquish title sponsorship following the award of this year’s prize in March 2013, it has just been announced.

The Man Asian Literary Prize is one of the most prestigious literary fiction awards in this part of the world – and it has always been an award that Time Out Hong Kong has followed closely (one day a HK author? We live in hope…). The prize is given every year to a writer whose work has been published in English or translated into the language.

Among the past five winners of the prize, there are three Chinese, one Filipino and last year’s winning South Korean author, Kyung-sook Shin (pictured) who took gold for her masterpiece, Please Look After Mom. Time Out Hong Kong was the first publication in the world to announce her win earlier this year, followed by an interview. In our magazine The book recently sold its two millionth copy globally.

Asian writers, regarded by many as the ‘new blood’ of English literature, have been on the rise for many years now, however the Man Asian has given them a forum to be introduced to the world. Professor David Parker, executive director of the prize, thanked Man for its support. “When the prize began in 2007 with the aim of bringing the best of Asian new writing to the world,” he says, “Man stood beside us as our founding partner. Their belief in the project has been unwavering. On behalf of everyone involved in the Asian Literary Prize, I would like to thank Man Group for the steady support that has enabled the prize, in five short years, to achieve more than any of us would have dreamed possible.

“We look forward to the future with a new partner,” he continues, “confident that Asian fiction is now beginning to win the global readership and recognition it deserves. One third of the shortlisted writers for this year’s Man Booker Prize are from Asia, and international publishing houses such as Pan Macmillan and Hachette have recently opened offices here in Hong Kong.”

Man is working with the organisers to support their efforts to find a new title sponsor, it has been revealed. And just for the record, the committee is announcing the longlist for the upcoming Asian prize on December 4 after a three-month selection process. Get ready to chalk up your new reading list!

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