Top Asian literary prize seeks new sponsor

Thu Oct 18, 2012 3:02am EDT

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(Reuters) - The Man Asian Literary Prize, a major award for Asian literature, said on Thursday it is seeking a new sponsor after the Man Group Plc withdrew its title sponsorship.

The Man Group Plc, which had cut costs this year, also sponsors the Man Booker Prize, one of the most coveted awards for English language fiction.

"We have decided to concentrate our arts sponsorship on the world-leading Man Booker prize, where our support is about to go into its 12th year," a Man Group spokesman said in a statement.

The inaugural Asian title in 2007 was awarded to China's Jiang Rong for "Wolf Totem."

"The prize is doing an incredibly important job for Asian literature. As you can already see with the Mo Yan Nobel Prize, Asian literature is well and truly on the march at the moment," said David Parker, executive director of the Asian Literary Prize.

The $30,000 prize is awarded for works by Asian writers written in or translated into English, and is intended to widen exposure of Asian literature in the English-speaking world.

"I don't have any concerns that the loss of the Man name for us is going to be a kind of decisive loss of prestige ... we have high visibility in Asia," Parker said, adding that talks had begun with eligible sponsors.

South Korean novelist Kyung-sook Shin became the first female to scoop the prize this year with "Please Look After Mom," a tale of a family's search for their mother after she went missing on a subway.

The long list for the Man Asian Literary Prize this year will be announced in December.

(The story corrects first paragraph to clarify that announcement, not sponsorship withdrawal, occurred on Thursday.)

(Reporting By Sisi Tang, editing by Elaine Lies)

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