Noma Prize for New Writers

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Noma Prize for New Writers

A prize that traces its roots to the Noma Prize for the Encouragement of Literature, first awarded in 1941 by the Noma Service Association (now the Noma Cultural Foundation), which was established in accordance with the last wishes of Seiji Noma (1878–1938), founding president of Kodansha Ltd., one of Japan's largest publishing houses. Noma earned the nickname "Magazine King" for the many periodicals he launched.

The original prize was suspended after five years, but was revived in 1979 under the current name in conjunction with Kodansha's 70th anniversary, and has been awarded annually ever since. It goes to a writer of literary fiction who is still early in his or her career. Much like the Akutagawa Prize, it frequently serves as a gateway to success for new writers, and candidates for the two awards often overlap; but whereas the Akutagawa looks only at short to mid-length fiction that has appeared in literary journals, the Noma also considers longer works published in book form. Prominent awardees include Ryu Murakami and Haruki Murakami. The prize is noted for often recognizing talent passed over by other awards and providing the encouragement such young writers need to persist until they gain wider recognition.

The annual winner is customarily announced in early November, together with the winners of the Noma Prize for Literature and the Noma Prize for Children's Literature. The awards ceremony in mid-December has become a seasonal tradition that brings the literary year to a close.