Archive for the ‘Literary prize’ Category

☞ What is the purpose of having literary prizes? They help writers to write better? Maybe they broadly act as as incentives, but whether this factor has a clear relationship to better writing, is a moot point. However, from the consumers’ perspective, as Boyd Tonkin argues, it might serve the function of attracting their attention to the works that have been selected. Of course, there is a commercial motive underlying this. But if this helps to enhance the rewards to some of the better writers, it does have a worthy side effect, and who would want to quarrel with this?

“Do we need another major award for fiction? From a personal point of view, the question has become a little rhetorical. Along with more than a hundred others, I have signed up as a member of the “academy” that every year will nominate books for the new Folio Prize.

With £40,000 for the winner and sponsorship in place from the Folio Society, the competition will consider fiction in English from all over the globe (no US exclusions, as with the Man Booker). Annual panels of judges will be picked by lot from among “academicians”. Unlike the cardinals gathered in conclave in Rome, the chosen arbiters will have the right to refuse to serve. So far as I know, the victor in a papal ballot can’t say – sorry folks, but the diary’s looking a bit full for the next 30 years.

For a while I doubted that the Folio Prize – driven forward by publisher-turned-agent Andrew Kidd – would come to fruition. After all, the Man Booker grandees had reacted to one proximate cause of its foundation: the aggressively populist, anti-literary approach of the panel chaired by Stella Rimington in 2011. They made sure that the subsequent judging teams had at their head writer-critics who would ensure a serious selection of books: last year Peter Stothard, this year Robert Macfarlane.

Sure enough, the 2012 Man Booker shortlist repaired the damage by playing a diverse and thoughtful hand. Selfishly, I was gratified to see on it Tan Twan Eng‘s exquisitely smart and subtle novel of art, war and memory The Garden of Evening Mists, published by tiny Myrmidon Books in Newcastle and first reviewed on Britain in these pages. And I’m even more delighted to learn that the Malaysian novelist has, this week, won the continent-wide Man Asian Literary Prize in Hong Kong.”

Read more…

Tan Twan Eng wins Man Asian prize