From the Man Asia website:
HONG KONG, 15 March 2012 – Kyung-sook Shin has tonight become the first woman to win the Man Asian Literary Prize, Asia’s most prestigious award for writers, for her novel ‘Please Look After Mom’.
The win is the first for a South Korean writer, and ‘Please Look After Mom’ is the first novel by a South Korean to make it to the Man Asian Literary Prize shortlist in the Prize’s five year history.
This is an unprecedented achievement in Korean fiction, and although the article scarcely mentions her, it is important to also recognize the achievement of Chi-young Kim, the translator of the book. Both author and translator did excellent jobs, and even more good news is that they each receive a monetary award for their achievements:
The Man Asian Literary Prize was founded in 2007. It is an annual literary award given to the best novel by an Asian writer, either written in English or translated into English, and published in the previous calendar year. The judges choose a longlist of 10 to 15 titles announced in October, followed by a shortlist of 5 to 6 titles announced in January, and a winner is awarded in March. The winning author is awarded USD 30,000 and the translator (if any) USD 5,000.
I hope that this award will make more Korean and US publishers of Korean fiction aware of the possibility of gaining marketing traction by applying for (and hopefully winning) such awards.
I will say, the announcement was also somewhat amusing in it’s “one hand washes the other” claim that:
Kyung-sook Shin’s agent, Joseph Lee of Korea Literary Management, reports that, while prior to the announcement of the 2011 Shortlist most Korean readers were unfamiliar with the Man Asian Literary Prize, it has since “become a well-known and important literary award” in Korea.
I do think it is fair to say that after this morning, when this hits the Korean press, that claim will be true.^^