Asian Whitbread Winner
Tash Aw's The Harmony Silk Factory has won the Whitbread 2005 Best First Novel Award. Aw who is Malay/British, tells his story through the eyes of three narrators, each of whom provides a perspective on the elusive Johnny Lim, Chinese silk merchant, who in the 1940s depending on the point of view is heavily into the black market, acts as a Japanese secret agent, and organizes the communist movement in Malaysia. Silk merchant and killer, Johnny Lim’s life is filtered through the prism of three people who interpret his actions and life.
Tash Aw was born in K.L. and has lived in England since his teens. He graduated from law from Cambridge University and worked in a law firm before taking up writing. The Harmony Silk Factory had rave reviews in England and was on the Man Booker short list for 2005.
For more on the 2005 winners of the Whitbread the BBC has filed a report.