First Malaysian Author Shortlisted for Man Booker Prize

October 15, 2012 § 5 Comments

Today I came across an article in NST of Man Booker Prize, the equivalent to  Oscar Award for the writers. To my utter surprise a Malaysian author Tan Twan Eng is one of the six authors who are shorlisted for the prize. This is the historical moment for the Penang born author, as he is the first Malaysian who has been shortlisted for such a great event for authors all around the world! I am so proud mself to be a Malaysian. 
About the Prize 

The Man Booker Prize for Fiction is a literary prize awarded each year for the best original full-length novel, written in the English language, by a citizen of the Commonwealth of Nations, Ireland, or Zimbabwe. The winner of the Man Booker Prize is generally assured of international renown and success; therefore, the prize is of great significance for the book trade.

Tan Twang Eng has been shortlisted for his novel “The Garden of Evening Mists” which is published in January. This is the second time he is listed for the prize since 2007, when his debut novel “The Gift of Rain” made the Booker longlist. Well, it was such an acknowledgement to a writer to be longlisted in the prize itself, and to be shorlisted together with the Booker Prize Winner, Hillary Mantel, this year, it is such a great accomplishment I would say. Well done Mr Tan!! 
The Booker comes with a £50,000 (RM250,000) prize. Wow! That’s a lot. But the most important thing is the sales of the books will increase at every stage of the selection process. In the week of shorlist announcement, sales of Tan’s novel shot up from 174 to 950 per cent. Pretty damn impressive!

The Blurb

It’s Malaya, 1949. After studying law at Cambridge and time spent helping to prosecute Japanese war criminals, Yun Ling Teoh, herself the scarred lone survivor of a brutal Japanese wartime camp, seeks solace among the jungle-fringed plantations of Northern Malaya where she grew up as a child. There she discovers Yugiri, the only Japanese garden in Malaya, and its owner and creator, the enigmatic Aritomo, exiled former gardener of the Emperor of Japan.

Despite her hatred of the Japanese, Yun Ling seeks to engage Aritomo to create a garden in Kuala Lumpur, in memory of her sister who died in the camp. Aritomo refuses, but agrees to accept Yun Ling as his apprentice ‘until the monsoon comes’. Then she can design a garden for herself. As the months pass, Yun Ling finds herself intimately drawn to her sensei and his art while, outside the garden, the threat of murder and kidnapping from the guerrillas of the jungle hinterland increases with each passing day. But the Garden of Evening Mists is also a place of mystery. 

I think, I a few years back I bought “The Gift of Rain” but I haven’t get the opportunity to read it since it had been eaten by termites. So, I have to get both of the book soon. Well, I’m not sure who’s gonna win this time!

Note: Other books shortlisted for The Booker Prize 2012

  • Hilary Mantel “Bring Up the Bodies”
  • Will Self “Umbrella”
  • Jeet Thayil “Narcopolis”
  • Deborah Levy “Swimming home”
  • Alison Moore “The Lighthouse”

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