“The culture of reading printed matter is in crisis, so I want to help produce more writers who deserve to be called artisans — just like young Fujimoto did,” said Tokiko Fujimoto, the 80-year-old widow of Naoki Prize-winning writer Giichi Fujimoto.

Tokiko has established a literature award named after her husband, who died about 2½ years ago. Entries for the award will be accepted from May.

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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.”

On a day he was declared winner of the 2014 Jnanpith award, India’s highest literary honour, Marathi writer Bhalchandra Nemade described English as a ” killer language” and calling for its banning from the field of education in India. He also sharply criticized two Indian-origin writers, V S Naipaul and Salman Rushdie, for “pandering to the West” and dismissed their works as being of little value.