Jakarta. Indonesian author Eka Kurniawan was awarded the inaugural World Readers' Award for his critically acclaimed novel, "Cantik Itu Luka" ("Beauty Is a Wound"), which was translated into English last year.
The award was initiated by Asia Pacific Writers' and Translators' Association — whose members consist of writers, translators, publishers, literary scholars and creative writing teachers across the region — with a mission to expand the diversity of books normally awarded in other international book prizes.
"We organized a price which involved a much wider range of people, including book readers in general — we also had a voting section in which anyone could nominate a book," the organizers said in a statement.
Presented on Tuesday (22/03) in Hong Kong, the award recognizes Eka's novel as "an extraordinary work that grips you from its electrifying first line: 'One afternoon on a weekend in March, Dewi Ayu rose from her grave after being dead for 21 years.'"
In a statement, Eka said he was "happy, humbled and honored" to receive the award.
Annie Tucker, who translated "Beauty Is a Wound" into English, was also recognized by the judges.
On the occasion, the judges also awarded the title of Young Writer of the Year to Gabrielle Mei Ying Tse, a 16-year-old writer from Hong Kong, for "her complex, multi-level short story, 'Terracotta.'"
"Today, we declare war on any suggestion that people on the Eastern side of the planet cannot be richly, powerfully, delightfully creative in the world of literature," said the prize chairman Nury Vittachi