It was announced on Mar 2nd that “Alternate” has won the 42nd Yoshikawa Eiji Literary Award For Newcomers, along with “Aisarenakutemo betsu ni” by Takeda Ayano. The award is given to new writers who have released their work between the period of Jan 1st to Dec 31st 2020, and who shows the most potential (as a writer).
The selection committee met at 3pm that day, and reached their decision on the winners about 2 hours later. Shigematsu Kiyoshi (“Knife”, “Vitamin F”, “Ryusei Wagon” etc.) represented the selection committee and said that “Alternate” was selected to be one of the winning works due to reasons like how well-written the unclear/uncertain emotions of youth were, and how while it’s an ensemble novel, each character was properly developed. One of the selection members read “Alternate” when it was serialised, and said the novel version was a lot better. The novel version wasn’t just a compilation of the serialised chapters, but one that was released after the serialised chapters were properly relooked at and rewritten to become even better. Credit was given to this as well, for how it shows growth.
At the press conference, Shige said that he’s genuinely surprised, but really happy. One of the selection members, Ijuin Shizuka (“Nyubo”, “Ukezuki”, “Goro goro” etc.), told him that he should just be happy at times like these, so Shige’s trying his best to feel the joy.
Shige spoke again of the complex he felt about being allowed to release novels because he’s from Johnny’s, and how while he was honoured, he also felt like he cut into the literary world just like that. He’s grateful for how kindly the literary world has treated him, and felt that with this award, he’s finally able to give back to the literary world. This is going to be a new start for him.
He shared how his debut novel, “Pink and Gray”, was written about 10 years ago, with the first draft written between the late February till the end of March. There’s no way he could forget about 311 that happened back then. Personally, it was also a rough period. Looking back, he has come a long way as a writer, but how he’s not stopped writing for the past 10 years is probably what brought him to where he is today. This makes him want to give the Shige 10 years younger a pat on his back.