12th annual Kiriyama Prize

April 1, 2008 5:01:27 AM PDT
A novel about a young girl's affinity for Charles Dickens' "Great Expectations" and an exploration of life in and near the water in the South Pacific are this year's winners of the 12th annual Kiriyama Prize.

The award is given for "literature that contributes to greater understanding of and among the peoples and nations of the Pacific Rim and South Asia."

New Zealand author Lloyd Jones was honored in fiction for "Mister Pip," in which a student on a war-torn South Pacific island escapes in her mind to Dickens' 19th century London. The nonfiction prize went to Julia Whitty's "The Fragile Edge," a report on people who live by the water in the South Pacific and a celebration of the water itself.

Jones and Whitty each will receive $30,000.

The Kiriyama is sponsored by the nonprofit Pacific Rim Voices. Previous winners include Michael Ondaatje and Rohinton Mistry.