Sunday 19 July 2015

The Sunday Post

A rojak* of items that caught my eye this week…

Akutagawa and Naoki Prizes
The winners of both the annual Akutagawa, and also the semi-annual Naoki literary prizes have been announced at a combined ceremony in Tokyo. 

The Akutagawa is for up-and-coming authors. It was jointly awarded to 火花, Spark, by 又吉直, Matayoshi Naoki, which has over 600,000 copies in print, and スクラップ・アンド・ビルド, Scrap and Build, by 羽田圭介, Keisuke Haneda.  

Spark depicts exchanges between a struggling young comedian and a senior comedian. Matayoshi writes from experience as he himself is a prominent Japanese comedian. His win has promoted much comment, and has been hailed as a shot in the arm for a sagging Japanese publishing industry. See here for a report in Kyodo News, and here for coverage in The Japan Times.

The Naoki is awarded for a work of popular fiction. The winner was 流, Ryu, by 東山彰良, Akira Higashiyama, a Taiwanese-born writer who now lives in Japan, and who is known as 王震緒, Wang Chen-hsu, in Chinese.  流 is a family saga set in China and based on Akira‘s own grandfather’s experiences during the years of hostility between the Nationalist Chinese Government and the Chinese Communist Party. For more information click here, for an account in Want China Times.
For a discussion of both prizes, see here, for an overview from the online Japan News, by The Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper.

Quick Notice: The 3rd Woman, by Jonathan Freedland

About the book: This clever and compelling page-turner is set in a dystopian future where a bankrupted  United States now bows to the People’s Republic of China, and where corruption is China rife, not to mention that truth is China flexible –  i.e., determined by the government. Against this backdrop, feisty young journalist Madison Webb is dedicated to exposing the real truth - until tragedy strikes and her beloved sister is murdered. In her most personal and challenging investigation yet, Maddy uncovers evidence that suggests Abigail’s death was the third in a series of killings forming part of a major conspiracy by the US-Chinese government. With the bureaucracy and police not to be trusted and her own life at risk, how far will Maddy have to go to get justice for her sister and has she got what it takes to do it?

About the author: Jonathan Freedland is a UK-based, award-winning journalist and broadcaster.

Details: published in hardback and eBook by HarperCollins, priced in local currencies.

Blog Spot: Asia Hacks
Each week I invite the administrator of a relevant and interesting-sounding blog to write a paragraph. This week Jame DiBiasio writes about Asia Hacks.  

[Hack: noun, colloquial; a writer who is paid to write low-quality, rushed articles.]
I'm an award-winning financial journalist and editor...and a non-award winning book author, both fiction and non-fiction, all with Asian themes. My Asia Hacks blog is one giant Etc. It includes reviews of books about Asia generally, such as Mark Clifford’s The Greening of Asia or Lawrence Osborne’s The Ballad of a Small Player, and novels written by Asian authors, from Ryu Murakami to Nguyen Hui Thiep; travel notes, either singly or in sets; reportage of things or events; opinion and political commentary; quirky photographs; and musings and updates about my books and about writing.

Do you run a blog you think may be of interest to readers of Asian Books Blog, and you’d like to see featured here?  If so, get in touch, preferably via e-mail - Thanks.

Twitter Spot: 
Each week I make a suggestion of an interesting Twitter account you may like to follow.  This week ChinaFictionBookClub, @cfbcuk, an account for everyone interested in Chinese fiction in English. Tweets by Chinese to English translator Nicky Harman, @NickyHarman_cn, and Helen Wang, @helenwanglondon, who is both a translator, and a curator at the British Museum. ChinaFictionBookClub is also at  (listopia)

Book Club Spot
Are you a member of a book club you think may be of interest to readers of Asian Books Blog?  If so, get in touch, preferably via e-mail - - because I want to include a weekly book club spot on Sundays, to complement the blog spot and the Twitter spot. Thanks.

*A rojak is a Singaporean salad. Like Asian Books Blog on Facebook, or follow it on Twitter: @asianbooksblog