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The 2004 Kiriyama Prize for fiction was awarded to novelist Shan Sa, the 32-year-old author of The Girl Who Played Go (Chatto and Windus, UK; Alfred A. Knopf, USA). The nonfiction Prize went to historian Inga Clendinnen for her book exploring the first years of European settlement in New South Wales, Dancing with Strangers (Text Publishing, Australia). The two authors each received a cash award of US $15,000.Kiriyama Prize Winner

2002 Fiction Winner
Shan Sa, The Girl Who Played Go

Photo of Shan Sa
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Shan Sa’s novel – the first of her books to be translated into English – is set against the brutal backdrop of war-torn Manchuria in the 1930s. It chronicles the story of a spirited 16-year-old Chinese girl and a Japanese soldier in disguise. Their paths cross in the occupied town square over a game of Go, the ancient Chinese board game that requires artful strategy and skill. As the game’s complexities are revealed, so are the characters’ motivations – and their surprising fates.

Shan Sa was born in 1972 in Beijing. In 1990 she left China for France, where she studied in Paris and worked for two years with the painter Balthus. Her two previous novels were awarded the Prix Goncourt du Premier Roman and the Prix Cazes. The Girl Who Played Go (translated by Adriana Hunter) is also available in 19 other languages, and is being adapted for film.

[A review of The Girl Who Played Go and a conversation with the Kiriyama Prize judges are published in WaterBridge Review www.waterbridgereview.org, a free online newsletter sponsored by Pacific Rim Voices.]

The Girl Who Played Go is available from the following publishers:

UK
Chatto and Windus
ISBN 0701174005

USA
Alfred A. Knopf
ISBN 1400040256

 

2002 Nonfiction Winner
Inga Clendinnen, Dancing With Strangers

Photo of Inga Clendinnen
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The title of Inga Clendinnen’s book is a metaphor for the initial contact in the late 18th century between two vastly different peoples: the British settlers and Aboriginal Australians. (“The Australians and the British began their relationship,” Dr. Clendinnen writes, “by dancing together.”) The centerpiece of this immensely readable book is the vivid recreation of the events surrounding the spearing of Governor Phillip at Manly Cove in 1790. By retracing the difficulties in the way of understanding people of different cultures, the author’s stated hope is for greater tolerance and social justice.

Inga Clendinnen is also the author of Reading the Holocaust, a New York Times Best Book of the Year in 1999, and winner of the New South Wales Premier’s General History Award. Her 1999 Australian Broadcasting Corporation Boyer Lectures, True Stories, were published in 2000, as was her award-winning memoir Tiger’s Eye. She lectured for many years in the La Trobe University History Department, Melbourne, and now lives in Townsville, Australia.

[For a review of Dancing with Strangers and a conversation with the Kiriyama Prize judges, visit WaterBridge Review www.waterbridgereview.org, a free online newsletter sponsored by Pacific Rim Voices.]

Dancing With Strangers is available from the following publishers:

Australia
Text Publishing
ISBN 1877008583

USA
Cambridge University Press
(forthcoming in April 2005)
ISBN 0521616816