Posted by: Lisa Hill | March 12, 2013

Announcing the 2012 Shadow Man Asian Literary Prize Winner

Shadow Man Asian logo 2012Joint Announcement from the 2012 Shadow Man Asian Literary Prize Jury

It is our great pleasure to announce the winner of the Shadow Jury’s Man Asian Literary Prize for 2012: The four-member Shadow Jury has chosen Narcopolis, by Jeet Thayil.

Described variously by the members of the jury as a ‘strangely compelling’ and ‘utterly, compellingly addictive’ novel that ‘marries a beautiful prose style with some deeply unbeautiful subject matter’Narcopolis could not be more different from the winner last year, Please Look After Mother, by Kyung-sook Shin.  It may, however, similarly provoke divided opinion amongst readers, though for different reasons: Narcopolis tackles confronting rather than sentimental subject matter.  The fact that such different novels can win the same shadow prize is testament to the variety of Asian writing uncovered by the Man Asian Literary Prize.  Full reviews of the novel are available at each participating blog, and a complete list of all the reviews of the long and short list can be found at A Novel Approach.

Inspired by the Shadow Giller Prize coordinated by Kevin from Canada, the Shadow Man Asian Literary Prize Jury was formed in 2010 to promote the Man Asian Literary Prize throughout the world. It comprises four bloggers: Matthew Todd from A Novel Approach,  Mark Staniforth from Eleutherophobia, Stu Allen from Winston’s Dad  and  Lisa Hill here at ANZ LitLovers. In its first year, the Shadow Jury chose the eventual winner of the 2011 Man Asian Literary Prize, Please Look After Mother, by Kyung-sook Shin (though as readers of this blog can see from my review, it was not a unanimous decision).

If Narcopolis wins the Man Asian Literary Prize, it will be the first debut novel to do so under the new rules introduced in 2010.

The Man Asian Literary Prize began in 2007 as a prize for unpublished manuscripts, though was revamped in 2010 to recognise the best Asian novel each year. The official Man Asian Literary Prize winner for 2012 will be announced in Hong Kong on Thursday 14 March 2013.  (Unlike the Shadow Jury’s Award, it carries prize money –  of $30,000 USD and the translator, if any, will receive $5,000).

The five shortlisted novels selected from a longlist of 15, were:

–         Between Clay and Dust – Musharraf Ali Farooqi (Pakistan) (see my review)

–         The BriefcaseHiromi Kawakami (Japan) (see my review)

–         Silent House Orhan Pamuk (Turkey) (see my review)

–         The Garden of Evening Mists Tan Twan Eng (Malaysia) (see my review)

–         NarcopolisJeet Thayil (India) (see my review)

Thanks to my fellow jurors Stu and Mark, and Matt; it’s been a pleasure to participate!


  1. its been great fun again a worthy winner and wonderful shortlist ,all the best stu


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