A bolt from the blue. The Man Asian Literary Prize has announced that its primary sponsor, the Man Group, is taking its money and walking away from the prize. The Prize's Executive Director, Dr. David Parker, has just posted a letter on the Prize's official website bidding goodbye to his old sponsors and, supposedly, "looking forward to the future with a new partner." The optimistic tone of his letter is disconcerting; given the obvious crisis represented by the result of such a high-profile sponsor, the out-with-the-old-in-with-the-new message seems like a cover. At any rate, the Asia Pacific Writers and Translators Association doesn't buy it; their online announcement is titled The FINAL Man Asian Literary Prize.
For the Man Asian to fail would be a disaster for Asian literature in particular and translated literature in general. What has happened? Did the Man Group have too much money in Fannie Mae, or is this perhaps a political move?