March 11, 2012 by markstani
After almost six months working through the long- and shortlists for the 2011 MAN Asian Literary Prize, our ‘Shadow’ jury, consisting of six bloggers across three continents, has voted Kyung-sook Shin’s Please Look After Mother its inaugural winner.
I don’t think I’m betraying any confidences here by saying that, while Shin’s subtle story of the schisms within a Korean family was our clear, cumulative winner, the choice was far from unanimous. In fact, it’s fair to say it’s a book which polarises opinion, and our panel is no exception. That’s fine: unanimity can sometimes imply a weakness among the other contenders. Three of our panel voted it their favourite. For what it’s worth, I liked it, but voted The Wandering Falcon and Rebirth higher.
But much as I admire ‘Please Look After Mother’, and much as I’ll be cheering for ‘The Wandering Falcon’ on Thursday, I think Prize juries such as ours are less about the necessarily subjective choice of an eventual winner, and more the opportunity to highlight and spread the word about new books and authors. Thanks to the sterling efforts of my fellow ‘Shadow’ team members, I believe we succeeded.
It should be stressed, by the way, that the ‘Shadow’ jury has no official connection to the main Prize, whose winner is announced on Thursday, nor to MAN Group. It remains to be seen if they share our opinions.
‘PLEASE LOOK AFTER MOTHER’ WINS SHADOW MAN ASIAN LITERARY PRIZE 2011
‘Please Look After Mother’ by Kyung-sook Shin (pub. Weidenfeld & Nicolson, UK/Aus; Knopf, US) has won the ‘Shadow’ MAN Asian Literary Prize for 2011.
‘Please Look After Mother’ was the stand-out choice of a team of bloggers from across three continents, who reviewed all twelve titles originally longlisted by the official MAN Asian Literary Prize jury.
The ‘Shadow’ jury described ‘Please Look After Mother’ as ‘a heart-warming story of family’; ‘a deceptively simple novel‘; and ‘a splendid work of literary fiction’.
Chair of the ‘Shadow’ jury, Lisa Hill of ANZLitLovers, said: ‘It is testament to the quality of this year’s long- and shortlists that our decision was not unanimous, but ‘Please Look After Mother’ clearly prevailed overall.’
The ‘Shadow’ MAN Asian Literary Prize is entirely independent of the official MAN Asian Literary Prize, whose winner will be announced on Thursday March 15, and of MAN Group. The ‘Shadow’ Prize is intended to highlight the main Prize by broadening the discussion about the long- and shortlisted titles via the social networking community. Links to all ‘Shadow’ jury reviews and interviews can be found here