A new book prize is being created in Hong Kong aimed at breaking the cultural hegemony of Western awards.
The World Readers’ Award seeks to celebrate the works of authors barred from existing major prizes, Nury Vittachi, chairman of the Asia Pacific Writers and Translators Association, said.
With the launch of the prize – which he nicknamed “the Golden Egg” as it will be presented in the Charles K. Kao Auditorium, an egg-shaped structure in the Science Park – Vittachi also wants to promote books that offer a more accurate description of the world.
In the first year of the awards, only English-language published works will be eligible. “To start with, the books will need to be in English, otherwise we would have to have judges who could read huge numbers of different languages,” he said. “But we will also accept books which have been translated into English from any other language.”
If the prize is a success, Chinese works would be included in the future and eventually other languages, he added.
A judging panel, made up of members of the association, will select about 12 books in the next eight weeks and the public will be asked to vote on the shortlisted works. The public’s view, however, will only serve as reference for the judges, who will determine the winner as “Best Read of the Year” with a prize of US$10,000.
There will be no specific categories for fiction, non-fiction and children’s books.