The organisers of Asia’s most prestigious prize for literature said they were looking for a new sponsor after the Man Group announced it was ending its funding for the prize after six years.

The Man Asian Literary Prize began in 2007 and is given to the best novel by an Asian writer, either written in English or translated into English.

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Hilary Mantel has won the £50,000 Man Booker Prize for her novel Bring up the Bodies, the sequel to Wolf Hall, which won the prize in 2009.

Mantel is the first woman and the first British author to win the prestigious literary prize twice.

“This double accolade is uniquely deserved,” said Sir Peter Stothard, chairman of the judges.

The book is about Thomas Cromwell, an adviser to King Henry VIII, and charts the bloody downfall of Anne Boleyn.

It is the second book in a trilogy.

A third instalment, to be called The Mirror and the Light, will continue Cromwell’s story until his execution in 1540.

Mantel was announced as the winner at London’s Guildhall on Tuesday night.

Isn’t it time we called bullshit, once and for all, on the Nobel Prize? I’m not talking about the Peace Prize — though that’s a parcel of yuks all of its own. First Barack Obama — who hasn’t made peace anywhere at all, and whose prosecution of the war on terror has seen him described as “George W Bush on steroids” — and now the European Union. Already, I’m imagining tense negotiations in Brussels over who, exactly, gets to put the diploma into his downstairs loo.

But no: it’s a given that the Peace Prize is kind of a joke. What about the Nobel Prize for Literature? Has there ever been an instance of so manifest an absurdity accorded such reverence — such a tottering edifice of pomp erected on such shallow foundations?

Literary prizes, wrote Kingsley Amis, are “all right if you win them.” China’s political establishment takes a far less relaxed view of the Nobel Prize in Literature.

Since the country reintegrated into the global community after the death of Mao, its government has long craved a literary Nobel for a Chinese citizen living, working and thriving in China as proof that the People’s Republic has arrived as a modern world power. China’s longstanding Nobel envy has turned the prize into a symbol of collective achievement, rather than of individual creativity.

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