Award: Kiriyama Prize

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The Kiriyama Prize, named for Reverend Seiyu Kiriyama who established prize sponsor Pacific Rim Voices.org, was awarded every Spring. The purpose of the prize was to promote books that contribute to greater understanding of and among the peoples and nations of the Pacific Rim and South Asia. The winners split a cash award of $30,000.

Eligible books must be published in the U.S. or Canada in English, submitted by a publisher, and be concerned with the Pacific Rim in accordance with the purpose of the prize. A panel of five judges is appointed to each category to select finalists and a winner. A somewhat larger list of notable nominees may be found on the prize website.

Prior to 1999, only there was only one category which contains both fiction and nonfiction. The final award year was 2008.

Event Calendar

After the 2008 winners were announced, the Kiriyama Prize was suspended to be restructured. Publishers have been asked not to submit further entries. If the status changes, please notify me.

Pacific Rim Voices: Bridging Cultures, Opening Minds[1]

The Kiriyama Prize. Join us in celebrating the tenth anniversary of the Kiriyama Prize: established in 1996 to build a wider audience for books about the Pacific Rim and South Asia, and through these books to encourage greater mutual understanding and foster peace among the peoples of this vast and diverse region.

Each year two panels of judges select five finalists in each category, fiction and nonfiction. The winners are chosen from among these finalists in late March. Along with the winners and finalists, the Prize also publishes a list of the year’s “notable books”—about 10 in each category. This ensures that, over time, the Prize highlights a wide variety of perspectives on the peoples and cultures of the Pacific Rim and South Asia.

Pacific Rim Voices does much more than award money to the authors recognized by the Kiriyama Prize. An intensive publicity campaign follows the award announcements each year. Press coverage relating to the Prize has grown each year with news and feature stories about the Prize appearing in print, broadcast, and internet media across Asia, Europe, North America, and Oceania. Pacific Rim Voices also produces the Kiriyama Prize website and promotional materials for bookstores and libraries, and participates in many public events in order to ensure that the Prize brings significant recognition to the books it celebrates.

The Kiriyama Prize is one of only a small handful of literary awards open to writers who live anywhere in the world—and to books in translation from any language. So far, Prize-winning authors and finalists have included writers from Australia, Burma (Myanmar), Canada, China, France, India, Indonesia, Japan, the Marshall Islands, Mexico, Nepal, New Zealand/Aotearoa, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Vietnam. Winners and finalists have included books translated from Bahasa Indonesian, Chinese, French, Japanese, and Spanish.

WaterBridgeReview.org, Pacific Rim Voices’ online magazine, has grown quite naturally out of the Kiriyama Prize project. To use a suitably watery metaphor: If the Prize is a ship carrying books around the Pacific, WaterBridge Review is her crow’s-nest. As does the Prize, WaterBridge focuses attention on books from and about the Pacific Rim and South Asia, but it looks both to the stern—at books already published, and forward across the bow—at new and forthcoming books. Importantly, WaterBridge Review also provides Pacific Rim Voices with a very practical way to call attention to books published worldwide, including all sorts of books that encourage greater understanding of the cultures touched by the Prize. Through interviews, book reviews and round-ups, and through original writing and ideas for book groups, WaterBridge Review draws in readers who look beyond the bestseller lists and outside their own borders. The site is of special interest to literary agents and foreign-rights specialists, who are always looking for new talent that deserves a broader, international audience.

Looking ahead, Pacific Rim Voices’ is currently seeking ways to develop WaterBridge Review as an interactive site to assist readers to engage more fully with authors and books, and to facilitate a dialogue among individual readers and book groups, enhancing their understanding of the books featured on the site and the cultures explored in them.

PaperTigers.org, Pacific Rim Voices’ innovative and widely recognized website, presents a colorful and lively exploration of literature about the Pacific Rim and South Asia for children and young adults. The site, updated monthly, features a wide panorama of books, reviews, interviews, an illustrator’s gallery, “favorite reads,” and a valuable list of resources. Join the many parents, teachers, and librarians who have already found PaperTigers.org to be an invaluable resource for finding and choosing books that will enlighten and delight children and young adults.

Young people are naturally eager to discover more about the world around them and many of them are more adept than adults at surfing the Internet! That being so, Pacific Rim Voices is working hard to expand the PaperTigers site to include components that are specifically designed for use by young websurfers, and that will encourage them to use books and reading as their surfboards too.

References

  1. ^From www.kiriyamaprize.org with kind permission from Jeannine Stronach, Kiriyama Prize Manager

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