Major prizes honor Asian, American, Spanish-language writers

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Three major book prizes awarded November 16 to 20 recognize writing from the Asian, American, and Spanish-language literary fronts.

On November 16, a winner will be announced for the Man Asian Literary Prize, which goes to authors from the Asian continent or territories for a work not yet published in English. The prize brings a monetary award of $10,000, as well a strong boost toward being published: Wolf Totem by Chinese author Jiang Rong, who won the first Man Asian Prize in 2007, was published in English in early 2008, and 2008 winner Ilustrado by Montreal-based Filipino writer Miguel Syjuco will be published in April 2010. The 2009 shortlist includes writers from India, Kasmir, China, and the Philipines.

On November 18, the literary week continues in the United States with the National Book Awards, which also carry with them a $10,000 monetary award. The first National Book Award was given in 1950; now considered the nation's preeminent literary prize, the awards cover four categories: Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, and Young People's Literature. The National Book Awards are intended to help advance the careers of both established and emerging writers. Recent winners in fiction include Richard Powers, Jonathan Franzen, and Lily Tuck.

On Friday, November 20, the winner of the 2009 Premio Miguel de Cervantes will be announced in Madrid. The leading prize worldwide for literature written in Spanish, the Premio Cervantes has since 1976 recognized the achievement of Spanish-language writers. Often compared to the English-language Booker Prize because it rewards authors from multiple countries, the Premio Cervantes recognizes the lifetime achievement of the winning authors, making it more similar to a Spanish-language Nobel Prize in Literature. Winners receive a monetary award of €125,000 from the Ministry of Culture of Spain.