- Five authors in contention for coveted prize
The world’s literati gathered at the renowned London School of Economics & Political Science as the eagerly awaited shortlist for the $25,000 DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2017 was announced at a prestigious event. The much anticipated shortlist of five novels was announced this week by Ritu Menon, along with the other four jury members – Senath Walter Perera, Steven Bernstein, Valentine Cunningham and Yasmin Alibhai-Brown.
The jury had earlier announced a longlist of 13 novels at the Oxford Bookstore in New Delhi in August 2017. The shortlist represents a diverse mix of established writers and young novelists fast making their mark in the South Asian literary landscape. The shortlisted authors hail from different backgrounds and geographies and include three Indian writers, of which two are based outside of the South Asian region, one Sri Lankan writer and one American writer based in India. The shortlist announcement was well received by publishers, authors and literary enthusiasts who attended the event.
The five shortlisted entries contending for the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2017 are:
- Anjali Joseph: The Living (Fourth Estate, HarperCollins, UK)
- Anuk Arudpragasam: The Story of a Brief Marriage (Granta Books, UK)
- Aravind Adiga: Selection Day (Fourth Estate, HarperCollins, India)
- Karan Mahajan: The Association of Small Bombs (Chatto & Windus, UK & Viking, USA & Fourth Estate, HarperCollins, India)
- Stephen Alter: In the Jungles of the Night (Aleph Book Company, India)
Speaking on the occasion, Ritu Menon, Chair of the jury commented, “After deliberating on the many exceptional qualities of the novels selected, and considering the disparities in our backgrounds, the jury was unanimous in its decision on the five shortlisted titles. All five display a remarkable skill in animating current universal preoccupations in unconventional idioms, and from a distinctively South Asian perspective.”
The jury will now deliberate on the shortlist over the next month and a half, and the winner of The DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2017 will be announced at a special Award Ceremony at the Dhaka Literary Festival in Bangladesh on 18 November.
Commenting on the shortlist, Surina Narula, co-founder of the DSC Prize said, “My commendations to the jury panel for coming up with such a brilliant shortlist; it must have been a challenging task to bring down the already impressive set of 13 longlisted novels down to the shortlist of 5 which represent the very best of South Asian fiction writing. The depth, creativity and unique narrative of each novel is indeed both impressive and inspirational in turn. My congratulations to each one of the shortlisted authors and I wish them the very best for the final award ceremony in Dhaka in November.”
The announcement was preceded by a special panel discussion on “Literature & Film” which was moderated by Steven Bernstein who was in conversation with Gurinder Chadha, Michael Wood and Kunal Basu.
The DSC Prize for South Asian Literature prides itself on a thorough and transparent judging process and is modeled on global best practices. The five-member international jury panel, which comprises literary luminaries drawn from diverse geographies and expertise, is solely responsible for deciding and arriving at the longlist, the shortlist and the ultimate winner and their adjudication is final.
This year’s international jury panel includes Ritu Menon, Jury Chair and eminent feminist writer who has commented on a wide range of gender issues affecting the South Asian region, Valentine Cunningham , Professor Emeritus of English language and Literature at Oxford University, UK who has authored several books on Victorian fiction and poetry, Steven Bernstein, celebrated screenwriter, director, author, cinematographer and lecturer based out of Los Angeles, USA, Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, respected journalist, pundit, radio and television broadcaster, based in London who has written extensively on society, culture and feminism, and Senath Walter Perera, Senior Professor in English, University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka who has authored several publications on the diasporic and postcolonial literature of the region.
The $25,000 DSC Prize for South Asian Literature which was instituted by Surina Narula and Manhad Narula in 2010, is one of the most prestigious international literary awards specifically focused on South Asian writing. It is a unique and coveted prize and is open to authors of any ethnicity or nationality as long as the writing is about South Asia and its people. It also encourages writing in regional languages and translations and the prize money is equally shared between the author and the translator in case a translated entry wins.
Now in its seventh year, the DSC Prize has been successful in bringing South Asian writing to a larger global audience through rewarding and showcasing the achievements of the authors writing about this region. Past winners of the DSC Prize have been H.M. Naqvi of Pakistan, Shehan Karunatilaka of Sri Lanka, Jeet Thayil and Cyrus Mistry from India, Jhumpa Lahiri, and Anuradha Roy from India who won the prize last year.
In line with its South Asian essence, the DSC Prize Award ceremony is held in various South Asian countries by rotation. The winner of the DSC Prize 2015 was announced in Jaipur, India, the winner of the DSC Prize 2016 was announced at the Galle Literary Festival, Sri Lanka and this year the winner of the DSC Prize 2017 will be announced at the Dhaka Literary Festival, Bangladesh on 18 November.