Thursday, April 17, 2008

Nury the Chief Judge

Author Nury Vittachi has long championed the cause of writing in Asia. He started the Asian Literary Review, was co-founder of the Hong Kong Literary Festival and was instrumental is setting up the Man Asia Literary Prize before being sacked from the organizing committee after a row about racial insensitivity.

Now Nury has now been named chief judge of Australasia's newest and richest book prize the annual Western Australian Premier's Australia-Asia Literary Award of $110,000. It is recognition that he greatly deserves.

Paige Taylor interviews Nury in the Australian about how he believes the new award would
... kick-start a writing revolution (and) uncover some of the world's next great authors from within Asia ...
where there is as yet no equivalent to the Booker or the Pulitzer.

The award is open to :
... any book-length work of literary fiction published in print or electronically, in recognition of the increasing predominance of electronic media such as online and mobile-phone formats.
(I am absolutely thrilled that an Australian prize is open to Asian authors but as yet I have no information about who is eligible to enter and how - let me see what I can find out and here is the link to the award website and the rules for submission and entry form.)

Nury's whole life seems to be bound up with literary prizes. Ironically, it was an award winning book written by his father that once saved his family from certain death in Sri Lanka.

Do go check out Nury's blog as he has posted some of his very amusing articles and columns. I particularly enjoyed his account of lunch with Jeffrey Archer who was in Hong Kong as part of his book tour to promote his latest novel A Prisoner of Birth :
I mean, if you look up “over-achiever” in the Oxford Dictionary, you’ll find a two-word entry “Jeffrey Archer”. Consider this. The guy has a go at writing novels and writes global bestsellers. He has a go at politics and becomes chairman of the ruling party. He has a go at acting and ends up with a hit show in the West End of London. Had he decided to have a go at making a life-sized replicas of the Himalayas out of Nissin instant noodles, we would now be reading reports of mountaineers snacking their way up to 29,000 feet.
Update :

More about the award in the Age. Honestly, I'm pinching myself ...


Anonymous said...

His Lordship IS an over-achiever isn't he ? he's achieved so many things that so many authors haven't. For instance, no author has ever been in and out of jail half as many times as he has :)

Anonymous said...

bibliobibuli said...

am so grateful!!! this is excellent news

CatR. said...

This is old news, but I just found out that Jeffrey Archer has a blog:'s quite a fun read, very old-fashioned sounding.