2012 Prizewinners & critique
Grand Prize:The Quick Draw" by Shu Yajima
Special Acknowledgement Prize:"O Lady Elissa, Look Ahead I Found You an Enemy."Shinobu Takahashi
The 3rd Golden Elephant Award's Grand Prize is awarded to "The Quick Draw" by Shu Yajima, and the Special Acknowledgement Prize is granted to "O Lady Elissa, Look Ahead I Found You an Enemy" by Shinobu Takahashi.
This year the Golden Elephant Award received about 260 works for award consideration. It is true that each year jury process is becoming harder and harder because the number and quality of submitted works clearly soared. In fact, even the initial screening was more competitive this year; therefore it went under more discussions. In the end, five, strong finalists were nominated for the final session ,surviving sometimes overheated comments and criticism by juries from the US, China, South Korea, and Japan in September. At last, it was "The Quick Draw".
――The Golden Elephant Award, to repeat the theme, was founded to call for, represent, and debut Japanese novelists worldwide. Through this award, Japanese novelists shall go beyond national borders and entertain readers from all over the world. The voice, the demand resonating in every corner of the world, is waiting for new talents and new stories to appear. We strongly believe that "The Quick Draw" will respond to the voice with full value.
Still yet to announce is a piece of southpaw but gallant entertainment and a winner of The Special Acknowledgement Award, "O Lady Elissa, Look Ahead I Found You an Enemy." This is so-called "Light Novel" (or Genre or Young Adult), which is nowadays one of the most popular forms of entertainment in text format in Japan. This category is a new challenge for us: however the majority of jury mentioned that this "historical fantasy genre" cannot be ignored these days. Therefore, the special acknowledgement went to it.
In the end, 3rd Golden Elephant Award landed on what seems to be a bipolar selection. However both have such strengths of storytelling and best fitted to the founding theme of the award and represent the potential of Japanese novel market.
The Golden Elephant Award Committee
"This is far from the current trend in the market――," mentioned final juries over and over again, not necessarily to complain the out-of-date style of writing , but to hint the freshness of reviving action/adventure novels from the good old days. For its skillful eye-catching power and rarecompositional style, finale juries unanimously voted for the grand prize.
Storytelling is at its apex although the story itself begins with a rather mediocre murder. The background scenery takes place from the Californian West Coast to the deep, forgotten land of Mid-western desert. The author sets readers' eye on a LAPD detective, investigating a family massacre in L.A., This cop fights hisown naive racial complex and internal disputes among local, state, and federal law enforcement agent, creating a room for readers to relate to. The author then illustrates a dramatic getaway action by a Japanese female drug trafficker Yuko "Butch" Kawabuchi and a mysterious boy "Mondo" Saotome, and later skillfully connects the two main bodies of the story. Actions after actions, explosions and scorching grounds, thugs and rogues standing with full intention to kill the opponent, the bloody vengeance of a swordsman of the dark past…., this novel reaches a height of "a hard-boiled crime action” with great surprising conclusion with contemporary touch of “fantasy” or supernatural force. Once you start turning pages, there is no turning back. The venom will taint you with chronic addiction to go forward.
I'm honored to be selected for such entertainment-driven award as Golden Elephant Award. WhenI was working on this piece, I strongly hoped to entertain all the readers who would grab this book. I cannot wait for the day this is printed and displayed at bookstores. I hereby thank all jury members for selecting this one and awarded me with such honor.
It was a killer assignment for jury members. It seemed impossible to come to an unanimous vote. As previously mentioned in General Statement, this piece was categorized as Light Novel (or Young Adult), and we never had selected anything of the genre. A phrase such as "this work may be in a wrong place" was heard several times at the jury session.
However, the central character and heroine "Lady Elissa," in everyone's opinion, has a power to take readers captive. After all, the jury prized it the Special Acknowledgement Award. In this story, Lady Elissa, a queen of Phoenicia and incredible beauty as Cleopatra, leads a large fleet of naval ships with hundreds of thousands seamen on board to sheer battles all over the Mediterranean seas. Later she's known to us as Dido the founder of Carthage. This epic is also ornamented by unique characters in various traits.
By just a glimpse at a page, readers can instantly get glued to the story by narratives of such rhythm and speedy dialogue. The author skillfully created attractive characters that surround Elissa.
The author picked as motif an independent, almost contemporary-minded queen whose actions are not elegance nor social skills but fists and war tactics from a history of 9th century B.C. in Phoenicia, which could easily be a mere word from history textbook to many of us forever. The author fortified her story with a research of the history and careful mapping of characters, and with this foundation she cruises her pen to narrate heavy duty naval engagements, crushes, and wrecks. This creativity of purely entertaining story based on real history is highly acclaimed.
Born in 1967. Housewife.
Thank you very much for the Special Award. To be honest, I was fully satisfied when my piece was selected just for the finalist, so I cannot believe this is happening. I thank all the jury members for taking time and read my work. I really thank you.