Pinoy novel makes it to Man Asian Literary Prize list

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 14 2010 04:30 PM | Updated as of Dec 15 2010 12:31 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Filipino writer and journalist Criselda Yabes is a candidate for the prestigious Man Asian Literary Prize.

Below the Crying Mountain, set during the Moro rebellion in Sulu, Philippines in the 1970s, is the only Filipino entry included in the Man Asian Literary Prize longlist.

The novel has already won in the fiction and creative nonfiction category of the Gawad Likhaan: UP Centennial Literary Awards in 2008, along with Yabes' nonfiction narrative, Sarena's Story: The Loss of A Kingdom. (Read story here.)

Yabes is a UP journalism graduate, and a freelance journalist and writer. She has worked for the Associated Press, Reuters, Newsweek, The Washington Post, and The Economist, among others.

The 10-strong list of candidates for the Man Asian Literary Prize is dominated by Indian authors: Upamanyu Chatterjee (Way To Go), Anosh Irani (Dahanu Road), Manu Joseph (Serious Men), Tabish Khair (The Thing About Thugs), Usha K.R. (Monkey-man) and Sarita Mandanna (Tiger Hills).

Japanese author Kenzaburo Oe, winner of the 1994 Nobel Prize for Literature, is also part of the longlist. His novel, The Changeling, tells how a man finds out the reason why his brother-in-law killed himself.

Another Japanese writer, Yoko Ogawa, is also nominated for the award for Hotel Iris, while Chinese author Bi Feiyu made it in the list for her work titled Three Sisters.

Candidates for the Man Asian Literary Prize were selected from a total of 54 titles from 14 Asian countries by a panel of judges led by Brick Lane author Monica Ali.

"The judges have encountered the best of new fiction from across the region, from India to China, from the Philippines to Japan, and the longlist reflects this diversity," Ali said in a statement, as reported by Agence France-Presse.

She continued, "As a reader I have been entertained, moved and also informed -- new worlds have opened up."

Professor David Parker, the prize's chairman, for his part told AFP, "As the center of gravity in the world's economy shifts towards Asia, Asian writing will become ever more important."

Ali will be joined by her fellow judges (Harvard literary academic Homi K. Babha and award-winning writer Hsu-Ming Teo) in choosing the 5 novels that will be part of the award's shortlist, which will be announced in February next year.

The winner will be announced in March 2011. -- With a report from Agence France-Presse

Photos courtesy of the University of the Philippines and the UP National Writers' Workshop