The leading international prize for South Asian literature announces its six shortlisted authors: two Pakistani, one Bangladeshi, and three Indian writers – alongside an American translator – are in the running, representing one of the most rapidly expanding book markets in the world
At a gathering of leading publishers, writers and cultural leaders at London’s May Fair Hotel on the evening of Tuesday 20th November 2012, the shortlist for the third DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2013 was announced. The prize carries an award of INR 2,800,000/GBP £32,000/USD $50,000 given to one international author (or shared with their translator) who has written the best novel thematically linked to the South Asian region. The final prize will be announced during the DSC Jaipur Literature Festival in India in January 2013, and has grown to be a fixture in the international publishing calendar, due to the significance of South Asia’s rapidly expanding book market.
The jury, chaired by Nobel Prize-nominated writer and academic K. Satchidanandan (former Chief-Executive of India’s National Academy of Letters), undertook intense deliberation of a longlist consisting of 16 books. The jury featured a number of leading literary figures: writer and critic, Muneeza Shamsie (Managing Editor of The Oxford Companion to the Literatures of Pakistan), Rick Simonson (Senior Buyer, Founder, and Co-Director of Elliott Bay’s internationally-renowned author reading programme), Suvani Singh (Festival Director of Kathmandu Literary Jatra), and arts entrepreneur, Eleanor O’Keeffe (former Director of the Jaipur Literary Festival; Co-Founder of the Palestinian Festival of Literature, and cultural organisation, 5×15).
SHORTLISTED ENTRIES FOR THE DSC PRIZE FOR SOUTH ASIAN LITERATURE 2013
1. Jamil Ahmad: The Wandering Falcon (Hamish Hamilton/Penguin India)
2. Tahmima Anam: The Good Muslim (Penguin Books)
3. Amitav Ghosh: River of Smoke (Hamish Hamilton/Penguin India)
4. Mohammed Hanif: Our Lady of Alice Bhatti (Random House India)
5. Uday Prakash: The Walls of Delhi (Translated by Jason Grunebaum; UWA Publishing, W. Australia)
6. Jeet Thayil: Narcopolis (Faber and Faber, London)
COMMENT FROM THE JURY
K Satchidanandan, Chair of the Jury comments “The six shortlisted books from different countries represent the diversity of South Asian fiction in terms of theme as well as idiom. We were looking for works which are thematically fresh, stylistically innovative and are a definitive contribution to novel as a genre. The choice was not easy as we had sixteen outstanding works to choose from but we were unanimous in our final choice.”
There were 81 entries for the prize this year, from authors and translators across India, Australia, UK, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, reflecting the importance of South Asia’s rapidly expanding book market. India is currently the world’s third largest English-language book market currently (after the USA and UK), and is set to become the largest within the next ten years (according to a BBC Report, May 2012).
Long-listed authors, publishers (including Hamish Hamilton, Harvill Secker, Penguin, Picador, Headline Review, HarperCollins, Random House, Hachette, Faber and Faber and Zubaan), London’s literati, and ambassadors from the South Asian region gathered together for the gala event at the May Fair Hotel, London, to announce the Shortlist for the 3rd annual DSC Literature Prize.
The winner of the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2013 will be announced at the DSC Jaipur Literature Festival, Diggi Palace Hotel, on 25th January 2013.
COMMENT FROM DSC PRIZE STEERING COMMITTEE
“The jury had a challenging task in narrowing down the longlist of sixteen to arrive at the shortlist of the most deserving six books. It’s an excellent and well balanced shortlist and without doubt represents the finest writing pertaining to the South Asian region. I extend my best wishes to each one of the shortlisted authors and keenly look forward to the announcement of the final winner of the DSC Prize 2013 which will be made at the DSC Jaipur Literature Festival in January 2013”
Manhad Narula, Member Steering Committee, DSC Prize
THE DSC PRIZE 2013
The DSC Prize is guided by an international Advisory Committee comprising Arvind Krishna Mehrotra, Alastair Niven, Fakrul Alam, Ira Pande, Marie Brenner, William Dalrymple, David Godwin, Michael Worton and Surina Narula.
The prize is a first-of-its-kind initiative, awarded for the best work of fiction based on South Asia, published in English, including translations into English, and not dependent on authors’ ethnicity.
ABOUT THE LITERARY INITIATIVES OF DSC LIMITED
In its efforts to contribute to social growth and create social infrawealth, DSC Limited has identified the promotion of literature as a key initiative. The company firmly believes that promoting literature helps build the character of society, just as its infrastructure projects help create the infrawealth of the nation.
As a major move towards promoting literature, the company has been supporting the DSC Jaipur Literature Festival for the last six years. During this period, this event has grown to become the largest literary event of its kind in the region. As part of its vision of promoting South Asian literature, the most significant development has been the institution of the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature in 2010. This unique prize, which carries an award of US $50,000, is a celebration of the rich and varied world of literature belonging to the South Asian region.
DSC Limited has also been the principal sponsor of the DSC South Asian Literature Festival in the UK. With growing interest and a robust following of South Asian writing in the UK, this event is a critical platform in extending the company’s patronage of literature to a global audience.
LAST YEAR’S WINNER OF THE DSC PRIZE
In January 2012, the DSC Prize was awarded to Singapore based Sri Lankan author Shehan Karunatilaka for his book Chinaman (Random House, India), a novel that explores cricket as a metaphor to uncover a lost life and a lost history. Chinaman skillfully uses sport and the notion of fair play to look at Sri Lanka in a fresh and exciting way, while conscious of its integral colonial past.
Please visit www.dscprize.com for more details.
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