This morning, Publisher's Weekly announced that Penguin China is launching an American Idol-esque literary contest called “The Next – A Search for the New Face of Chinese Literature." Chinese authors will submit manuscripts to be judged by a panel of authors and critics, who will narrow submissions down to the top 36. Judging will then be opened to the Chinese public for voting, until a winner is chosen. That lucky writer will receive $146,000 and a publishing contract.
Penguin CEO John Makinson is reported as saying, "We very much look forward to reading 'the Next' sensation to come out of China’s burgeoning literary scene.”
Details about how the public judging will happen, what type of manuscript judges will be looking for and whether the contest will be televised were not mentioned in the PW article, and, mysteriously, no other information is available online, even though the contest is set to begin in September '08. (Of course, I don't read or type Chinese.) I wonder if Ryan Seacrest will be available for hosting duties. I think he's dreamy, in a literary sort of way.