Tuesday 12 January 2016

The Asian Books Blog Book of the Lunar Year

Asian Books Blog runs its own literary award: The Asian Books Blog Book of the Lunar Year. The winner, for the Year of the Ram / Goat, now drawing to a close, will be announced on February 7, Chinese New Year’s Eve for the upcoming Year of the Monkey. 

Asian Books Blog tries to highlight books of particular interest in, or especially relevant to, Asia, excluding the Near West / the Middle East.  The award thus likewise highlights such books. Authors can be of any nationality, and be published anywhere, either conventionally, or through self-publication – an important route for new voices within Asia, especially in the many countries within the region with limited publishing industries.

Books are eligible if they are both reasonably new, and if they featured in Asian Books Blog during the given lunar year – this because news of new books sometimes takes a while to trickle through to Asia. Anthologies are eligible. Reissues are not eligible. Books by regular contributors to Asian Books Blog are not eligible.

The blog covers literary fiction, genre fiction of all genres except erotica, and narrative non-fiction. Hence books in these categories are eligible for the award. Books may be either originally written in English, or translations into English.

The shortlist has a maximum of 15 books, divided into 5 categories: traditionally published fiction from within Asia; traditionally published fiction from beyond Asia; traditionally published non-fiction from within Asia; traditionally published non-fiction from beyond Asia; self-published. Each category includes up to 3 titles.

Self-published titles are eligible in eBook format. Traditionally published titles must be available in a physical format, either hardback, or paperback. 

The shortlist is intended to include a mix of books by new and established authors, of authors from all over Asia excluding the Near West, and of men and women. Books represent a variety of publishers. 

The winner will be decided by voting, with votes polled from the blog’s readers.

No money is at stake. Instead of a prize, the winning author will be invited to write a guest post highlighting the work of any secular organisation promoting literacy within Asia.

If the winning title is a translation, either the translator or the author may be invited to write the guest post, depending on circumstances.

If the winning author does not want to write a guest post, or is too busy to do so, this will not mean he or she forfeits the award. (No fee will be offered for the guest post.)

So: the shortlist for the Year of the Ram / Goat...follow the links to the blog's coverage of each title.

Fiction published within Asia
Nine Cuts: short stories / Audrey Chin / Math Paper Press, Singapore
The Curious Corpse / Nick Wilgus / Crime Wave Press, Hong Kong
Tales of Two Cities: Hong Kong and Singapore / Anthology / Ethos Books, Singapore

Fiction published beyond Asia
A House Called Askival / Merryn Glover/ Freight Books, UK
Little Aunt Crane / Geling Yan translated from Chinese by Esther Tyldesley / Harvill Secker
Griffith Review 49: New Asia Now / Anthology / Text Publishing, Australia

Non-Fiction published within Asia
Brunei: From the Age of Commerce to the 21st Century / Marie-Sybille de Vienne / NUS Press, Singapore
Adrift / David T. K. Wong / Epigram Books, Singapore
No third title

Non-fiction published beyond Asia
The Burma Spring / Rena Pederson / Pegasus, USA
The Boy with a Bamboo Heart / Chantal Jauvin with Dr. Amporn Wathanavongs / Maverick House, Ireland

Back Kicks and Broken Promises / Juan Rader Bas / self-published with Abbott Press, USA
Freedom of the Monsoon / Malika Gandhi / UK

How to vote
Please vote for only ONE title – books on the shortlist are presented in different categories to ensure a representative spread of titles on and from Asia, but there is intended to be only ONE winner, from across all five categories. The winner will be the title receiving the most votes. Voting will close at 9 a.m., Singapore time, on February 7.

You can vote by leaving a comment below, or by:
E-mailing asianbooksblog@gmail.com
Tweeting #asianbooksblog
Messaging the blog via Facebook

If you think others in your social networking groups would be interested in voting, then please prod them to do so. Thanks.

Books featured between now and CNY
Books featured between now and February 7 will be eligible for the award in the upcoming Year of the Monkey.