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Man Asian Literary Prize loses funding

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(Read caption) South Korean author Kyung-sook Shin was awarded the 2011 Man Asian Literary Prize for her novel 'Please Look After Mom.'

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The Man Asian Literary Prize, which honors the best novel of the year written by an Asian writer and translated into English, is seeking new sponsorship after the Man Group withdrew its financial support.

The Man Group, which is an assets management firm, is also behind the Man Booker Prize, which was awarded earlier this week to “Bring Up the Bodies” writer Hilary Mantel.

“We recently announced a program to reduce costs by $100 million by the end of next year, and this decision should be seen in that context," Man Group head of communications David Waller said of the decision.

Man Group CEO Peter Clarke said the company was proud to have been involved with the prize.

"We are committed to supporting the prize organizers in finding a new sponsor to ensure the continued development of this leading literary prize," he told The Bookseller.

The 2012 prize, which will be awarded in March, will be the last given with support from the Man Group.

Executive director of the Man Asian Literary Prize Professor David Parker said that with its current funds, the organization would be able to give out the prize in March, but would need a new source of money after that.

“To put it bluntly, we have got about 16 weeks to find some way of funding the prize, and we are absolutely determined we are going to do it," he told the Guardian. “There is quite a lot of potential value in backing a prize such as this, so we're not entirely desolate at this moment.”

The Man Asian Literary Prize was first given out in 2007, and last year’s went to writer Kyung-sook Shin, the first female winner, for “Please Look After Mom.”

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“Of course I was shocked, upset, disappointed to hear about [the sponsorship withdrawal]," Xu Xi, an author who made the shortlist for the prize in 2007 and who is now writer-in-residence at the City University of Hong Kong, told CNN. “There is no other prize in Asia that has any kind of international clout, that helps to bring to the fore writing specifically that is Asia-focused.”


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