When we travel or go on a holiday, we look forward to discovering spaces and cultures new to us. Here is a list of ten books that can vicariously give us a flavour of diverse cultures in the same way. The selection zips across Asia collecting books that have won Man Booker Prize, Man Asian Literary prize and more.
The books sail from Philippines to China, Mongolia, India, Japan, Vietnam to satisfy the fussiest of palates with fiction from different cultures.
Books by award winning and popular writer Haruki Murakami of Japan; Man Asian literary prize winner Bi Feiyu of China; Man Booker prize winning writer Arvind Adiga from India and the last and only female winner of the Man Asian Literary Prize, Korean writer Shin Kyung-sook , are featured in this listing.
The Man prize for Asian writing called the Man Asian Literary Prize is an award that was in existence for only six years, between 2007 to 2012. The funding was withdrawn in 2012 and the award discontinued. However, within a short time, the award impacted by creating an avenue for uncovering excellence in literature that would have remained concealed if they were not brought to limelight by the Man Asian Prize, according to Professor David Parker, the executive director of the organising body of this Asian award. There was a significant increase in the number of translated novels published.
Professor Parker, while announcing the change, said: “After the runaway success of Please Look After Mother [by winner Kyung-sook Shin] the Korean government has now decided to put up more money for Korean literature to be translated into English. That’s one of the things we have achieved and I think that is an important thing…And the winner of the 2010 prize, Bi Feiyu, has been published in India … a direct outcome of the fact the prize got quite a bit of visibility in India. We are not only bringing new literature, or formerly unknown literature, to the world, but also to Asia itself. That’s a subtle but significant thing, that Asia, because of this prize, is becoming more interested in Asia. That’s something we are very happy with.”
Wolf Totem by Jiang Rong, the first writer to win this award in 2007 and the second novel that won the same award, Illustrado in 2008 by Philipino writer Miguel Syjucco — form a part of this tempting oeuvre.
There are videos of interviews with some of the writers to liven the palate.
Please watch and read on to enjoy in culturetrip.com flavour of Asia.
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