An official circular on reforming China’s art and literature awards said appraisals from ordinary people will be an important parameter.

The circular, made public by the general offices of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and the State Council on Monday, said appraisals from the general public, artists and literati should be integrated with commercial indicators such as audience rating, box office and circulation.

the-lives-of-othersPenguin Random House has three titles shortlisted for the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2016 which reflects “the variety and vigour” of South Asian fiction writing and writing about South Asia.

In competition for the $50,000 (£33,000) prize are: R Meera for Hang Woman (Translated by J Devika; Penguin, India); Mirza Waheed for The Book of Gold Leaves (Viking/Penguin India); Neel Mukherjee for The Lives of Others (Vintage/Penguin Random House, UK), along with Akhil Sharma for Family Life (Faber & Faber, UK); Anuradha Roy for Sleeping on Jupiter (Hachette, India); and Raj Kamal Jha for She Will Build Him A City (Bloomsbury, India).

Winners of the 2015 Taiwan Literature Awards were unveiled Nov. 9 by the Tainan City-based National Museum of Taiwan Literature, which granted a total of NT$1.8 million (US$54,791) in prizes to five outstanding writers.

Works by novelists Wu Ming-yi and Gan Yao-ming, poet Wu Cheng, playwright Shen Wan-ting and Hakka short story writer Yeh Kuo-chu came out on top in the awards’ four genres. 

Desmond Kon
Desmond Kon

It’s a gilded tome of intimate, wrought writings – this anthology, titled Ars Moriendi: Writings on the Art of Dying. Published by Lien Foundation and Squircle Line Press, Ars Moriendi commemorates the 600th anniversary of the original Latin work, the first of its kind in western literature to provide guidance towards dying well. The anthology has been named a finalist – all finalists being of equal merit – under the Death & Dying category at the 2015 USA Best Book Awards. The editor of the book is Singapore poet-novelist Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé. Incidentally, Desmond’s novel, Singular Acts of Endearment, also placed as a finalist in two other categories, that of Multicultural Fiction and Visionary Fiction.

“I was elated when I was told my works got picked in three categories,” Desmond says. “It’s like a hat-trick, albeit it the near-miss of a win. It’s really an honour for the books to have made it this far in the awards selection, so I’m really grateful and appreciative. It’s a first mention for Ars Moriendi, so that really made my day. Also because it’s such a meaningful project.”

Recent international literary awards have shown the world a different side of China.

In 2012, Mo Yan won the Nobel Prize for literature and in August 2015 Liu Cixin won theHugo Award for his science novel The Three-Body Problem.

The latter has become so popular that the venue for his speech “The Future of ChinaThrough Chinese Science Fiction” at the University of Sydney on Nov 3 has had to be movedto a larger auditorium.

However, in China, literary awards have become the subject of an anti-corruption drive.