An "unprecedented" seven novels have been shortlisted for the 2011 Man Asian Literary Prize, two more than the usual five-strong list, after judges hailed the "imaginative powers" of the entries.
Titles including Amitav Ghosh's River of Smoke and Jamil Ahmad's The Wandering Falcon were shortlisted from the longlist of 12. Four were originally written in English, while the titles by South Korean author Kyung-Sook Shin, China's Yan Lianke and Japan's Banana Yoshimoto were judged in translation.
Chair of judges Razia Iqbal said: "The judges were greatly impressed by the imaginative power of the stories now being written about rapidly changing life in worlds as diverse as the arid borderlands of Pakistan, the crowded cityscape of modern Seoul, and the opium factories of 19th-century Canton.
"This power and diversity made it imperative for us to expand the 2011 Man Asian Literary Prize shortlist beyond the usual five books.”
The winner will be announced on 15th March at a black tie dinner in Hong Kong.
The shortlist in full:
The Wandering Falcon by Jamil Ahmad (Penguin India/Hamish Hamilton)
Rebirth by Jahnavi Barua (Penguin India/Penguin Books)
The Sly Company of People Who Care by Rahul Bhattaharya (Pan Macmillan/Pan Macmillan India/Picador)
River of Smoke by Amitav Ghosh (John Murray/Penguin India/Hamish Hamilton)
Please Look After Mom by Kyung-Sook Shin (Alfred A Knopf)
Dream of Ding Village by Yan Lianke (Corsair)
The Lake by Banana Yoshimoto (Melville House)