The Emile Guimet Prize for Asian Literature for NG Kim Chew

Here is a book with a seasonal title. “Rain,” by NG Kim Chew (Picquier) was crowned this Thursday, January 20, with the Emile Guimet Prize for Asian Literature. The Chinese-Malaysian’s book was preferred to Mitsuyo Kakuta’s “Paper Moon” (Southern Events), “The Disappeared of the Purple Line” by Anapara Dipa (City press)“Three Days in the Life of a Yakuza” by Hideo Yakuda (The Observatory) and “Ret Samadhi. Beyond the Border” by Geetanjali Shree (Women).

Initiated in 2017 by the museum of the same name, the Émile Guimet Prize for Asian Literature rewards “a novel or a story faithful to the will of the founder of the museum [Guimet] : to discover a protean and always surprising Asia”. Four criteria characterize it: the winner must be a translation into French, the author belongs to the geographical area of ​​the collections that the museum keeps, the book was published in France during the previous calendar year and the date of publication in the country of origin dates back less than 10 years. In 2020, writer Fang Fang was awarded for “Soft funeral” (The Asiatheque).

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Translated from Chinese by Pierre-Mong Lim, “Rain” unfolds in seven scenes and an additional story, eight stories that feature a family of Chinese migrants living in the Malaysian jungle, on the edge of a rubber forest. . The harvest of latex, the deluge, the violence of the Japanese invasion and the figure of the tiger, real or fantasized, constantly return. At the heart of the novel, Sin, sometimes a little boy, sometimes an adult – Sin meaning “suffering”, as if the suffering and the rain never stopped. In a poetic and bewitching style, the author signs a novel on the border between legend, dream and historical realism.

NG Kim Chew – whose Chinese name is Huang Ching-shu – was born in 1967 in Malaysia, to a family originally from Fujian. A graduate of Classical Chinese Literature from National Taiwan University, he is now a professor at National Chi Nan University. Writer, teacher and essayist, he won the Taipei Book Fair Grand Prize and the Tripod Prize for Literature with “Rain”.

The award ceremony will be held at 8 p.m. this Wednesday, on the occasion of the Nights of Reading organized by the Ministry of Culture (from January 20 to 23, 2022). The winner will receive an endowment of 5,000 euros.

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A noter : Chaired by Régine Hatchondo, president of the Center National du Livre (CNL), the jury is made up of the writer and essayist Pascal Bruckner, the author Olivier Rolin, the general delegate of the Syndicat de la Librairie Française Guillaume Husson, the translator and sinologist Jean-Claude Pastor and the president of the National Museum of Asian Arts – Guimet Sophie Makariou.

Also to note: The latest news from the literary awards can be found here.

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