Kiriyama Prize

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The Kiriyama Prize was an international literary award awarded to books about the Pacific Rim and South Asia. Its goal is to encourage greater understanding among the peoples and nations of the region. Established in 1996, the prize was last awarded in 2008.[1]

Winners include Greg Mortenson, David Oliver Relin, Luis Alberto Urrea, Piers Vitebsky, Nadeem Aslam, Suketu Mehta, Shan Sa, Inga Clendinnen, Pascal Khoo Thwe, Rohinton Mistry, Patricia Grace, Peter Hessler, Michael David Kwan, Michael Ondaatje, Cheng Ch'ing-wen, Andrew X. Pham, Ruth Ozeki, Patrick Smith, and Alan Brown.


The prize is worth $30,000, split evenly between a non-fiction and a fiction winner. It is awarded by Pacific Rim Voices, a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, California. For its first three years, the prize was given only to one book, either fiction or non-fiction.

To be eligible, a book must significantly concern some aspect of life or culture in one of the four Pacific Rim subregions: the North Pacific; Southeast Asia and the South Pacific; the Americas; and the Indian subcontinent. Books may be written in or translated into English from another language. Books are submitted by publishers by late October each year and are judged by separate panels of five judges, one for fiction and one for non-fiction. The decisions are made between November and February. Finalists are announced at the end of February, and the prize itself is given at the end of March.

Judges have included Alan Cheuse, James D. Houston, Sally Ito, Gish Jen, Chalmers Johnson, Nicholas Jose, Maxine Hong Kingston, Ruthanne Lum McCunn, Lisa See, Linda Spalding, Robert Sullivan, Gail Tsukiyama, Kathleen Tyau, and Jade Snow Wong.



The 2007 prize for fiction, awarded to Haruki Murakami, was declined by Murakami "for reasons of personal principle."[2]











(*) Note: Only one Kiriyama Prize, for fiction or nonfiction, was awarded in the first three years of the award: 1998, 1997, and 1996.

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