The short list.
Man Asian Literary prize shortlist
Jamil Ahmad – The Wandering Falcon
Ahmad is a retired Pakistani civil servant now living in Islamabad. The Wandering Falcon, which paints a picture of Pakistan’s tribal areas pre-Taliban, is his first book, which he wrote more than 40 years ago but failed to find a publisher. His brother and his wife insisted he try again; when he did so last year, he was offered a book deal almost immediately.
Jahnavi Barua – Rebirth
Barua has been writing fiction for the past seven years, while also working as a doctor in Bangalore. Rebirth is about a young pregnant woman married to an unfaithful husband, coming to terms with her unhappy marriage and her disappointing family life.
Rahul Bhattacharya – The Sly Company of People Who Care
Bhattacharya is a cricket journalist who writes for Wisden Asia Cricket and The Guardian. Cricket plays a part in his novel too, as the protagonist, a 26-year-old Indian cricket journalist, heads to Guyana for the game only to end up staying, swayed by the beauty of the place and the people.
Amitav Ghosh – River of Smoke
Ghosh is one of India’s most established authors, with seven novels, prestigious awards and a large collection of non-fiction to his name. River of Smoke, an epic historical novel, is the second part of a trilogy set at the time of the 19th-century Anglo-Chinese opium wars.
Kyung-sook Shin – Please Look After Mom
One of South Korea’s most acclaimed novelists, Kyung-sook Shin has already won several national literary awards. Of the seven novels she has written, Please Look After Mom, about a family searching for their missing mother, is the first to be translated into English.
Yan Lianke – Dream of Ding Village
Beijing-based Lianke has been writing since the 1970s, but many of his books, including Dream of Ding Village, have been banned in China because of their subject matter. In this book, Lianke tells the story of an Aids epidemic that spreads through a rural village by way of the sale of contaminated blood.
Banana Yoshimoto – The Lake
Yoshimoto is one of Japan’s best-selling and most popular authors. The Lake is her 13th book, about a young woman who moves to Tokyo after her mother’s death in pursuit of a new start, only to meet a young man with a traumatic and disturbing past.