New Delhi, October 20, 2014: The longlist for the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2015 was announced at the Goethe-Institut, Max Mueller Bhavan today, by leading Indian writer Keki N. Daruwalla, who is chairing the jury panel for the coveted prize. The longlist comprising 10 books includes a good mix of established writers and debut novelists and spans authors from different backgrounds and geographies. It features authors originating from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan, some of whom are now based in USA, UK and Canada. The function was well attended by publishers, authors and literary enthusiasts who welcomed the selection of the longlist. With several acclaimed novels on the longlist, choosing the final winner for the 2015 edition of the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature would be an interesting and challenging task for the jury panel.
The DSC Prize is now in its fifth year and over the last 5 years it has successfully celebrated and rewarded the best talent writing about the South Asian region and presented it to a global audience. There were over 75 entries for the coveted US $50,000 prize this year, from which the jury has compiled the longlist of 10 books that they feel best represent the eclectic and vibrant voice of the South Asian region. The jury panel comprises international luminaries from the world of literature – Keki N. Daruwalla, leading Indian writer and poet and chair of the jury panel, John Freeman, author, literary critic and former editor of Granta from the US, Maithree Wickramasinghe, a Professor of English at the University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka and the University of Sussex and an expert on gender studies, Michael Worton, Emeritus Professor at UCL (University College London) who has written extensively on modern literature and art, and Razi Ahmed from Pakistan who is the founding director of the annual, not-for-profit Lahore Literary Festival (LLF).
The longlisted entries contending for the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2015 are:
Bilal Tanweer: The Scatter Here is Too Great (Vintage Books/Random House, India)
Jaspreet Singh: Helium (Bloomsbury, India)
Jhumpa Lahiri: The Lowland (Vintage Books/Random House, India)
Kamila Shamsie: A God in Every Stone (Bloomsbury, India)
Khaled Hosseini: And the Mountains Echoed (Bloomsbury, India)
Meena Kandasamy: The Gypsy Goddess (Fourth Estate/Harper Collins, India)
Omar Shahid Hamid: The Prisoner (Pan Books/Pan Macmillan, India)
Romesh Gunesekera: Noontide Toll (Hamish Hamilton/Penguin, India)
Rukmini Bhaya Nair: Mad Girl’s Love Song (Harper Collins, India)
Shamsur Rahman Faruqi: The Mirror of Beauty (Penguin Books, India)
Speaking on the occasion, Keki N. Daruwalla, Chair of the jury commented “It has been both exhausting and rewarding going through these seventy five novels. As expected the variety is considerable. Obviously there was a tremendous mix here—of themes, landscapes, styles, issues—both political and personal. The narratives ranged from eighteenth and nineteenth century history to the Naxalite era in West Bengal, tribal rebellions to feudal atrocities. Scene and landscape varied from Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal to Afghanistan. After all, the novel had to be situated in South Asia—that being one of the main requirements of the prize. It is also what makes the DSC Prize so special.” “To give an idea of the variety, a schizophrenic from Bihar imagines conversations with Sylvia Plath and Blake. Soldiers returning from the Great War (1914—1918) find life different in the NWFP. A Sri Lankan car driver on hire visits places –the subtext here is the exploration of the past.” he added.
The jury will now deliberate on the longlist over the next month and the shortlist for the DSC Prize will be announced on 27th November at The London School of Economics in London. The winner will be subsequently declared at the Zee Jaipur Literature Festival in January 2015.
Speaking on the occasion, Manhad Narula of the DSC Prize Steering Committee, said, “I commend the jury panel for coming up with such an excellent longlist for the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2015. I find the longlist exciting as it includes some well known authors as well as new novelists who are making a mark on the South Asian literary canvas. Now in its fifth year, the DSC Prize has been rewarding the best writing about the South Asian region and bringing it to a global audience and I feel each of the books on the longlist is a must read. I am delighted that the DSC Prize has been able to highlight a range of issues pertaining to the ever evolving South Asian life – its culture, its people and their new found aspirations. I’d like to congratulate each of the longlisted authors and wish them the very best. Given such a strong longlist, it will be interesting to see which books make it to the shortlist from here.”
The announcement was preceded by a vivid theatrical reading performance by the Tadpole Repertory, comprising seasoned theatre artists and voracious readers, Krittika Bhattacharjee and Momo Ghosh. The performance brought to life, excerpts from Chronicle of a Corpse Bearer by Cyrus Mistry, which had won the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature last year.
The DSC Prize for South Asian Literature prides itself on a thorough and transparent judging process and is modeled on global best practices. The 5 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 without any external influence and their adjudication is final.
The DSC Prize for South Asian Literature has previously been won by HM Naqvi for Home Boy, by Shehan Karunatilaka for Chinaman: The Legend of Pradeep Mathew, by Jeet Thayil for Narcopolis and by Cyrus Mistry for Chronicle of a Corpse Bearer. Each of these winners has gone on to be published internationally and their work has reached a larger global audience which has been one of the central visions of the DSC prize.
For more information, please contact:DSC Prize Steering CommitteeGenesis Burson-Marsteller Deepa Kumar Farheen Khan +91-9811993926 / +91- 9999026784
About the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature
The US $50,000 DSC Prize for South Asian Literature which was instituted 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 5th year, the DSC Prize has been successful in bringing South Asian writing to a larger global audience through a celebration of the achievements of the authors writing about this region, and thereby raise awareness of South Asian literature and culture around the world. The DSC Prize is committed to extend the conversation on South Asian writing and reaches out to various audiences through exciting & creative partnerships with the London School of Economics, the Frankfurt Book Fair, the Jaipur Literature festival, the Ubud Writers & Readers Festival, the Goethe Institute and the University of Delhi amongst others.
The last four years have had winners from three different countries in South Asia – HM Naqvi from Pakistan (Homeboy, Harper Collins, India), Shehan Karunatilaka from Sri Lanka (Chinaman, Random House, India), Jeet Thayil from India (Narcopolis, Faber & Faber, London) and Cyrus Mistry from India (Chronicle of a Corpse Bearer, Aleph India). Each of these winners has gone on to be published internationally and their work has reached a larger global audience which has been one of the central visions of the DSC Prize.
About Goethe-Institut, Max Mueller Bhavan
The Goethe-Institut is the Federal Republic of Germany’s non-profit cultural institution established to promote knowledge of German language abroad and foster international cultural cooperation.
By drawing on its worldwide cultural and language based exchanges, the Goethe-Institut engenders a comprehensive picture of Germany by providing information on German culture, society and politics through its exchange of cultural initiatives and varied programming.
The Goethe-Institut endeavors not only to promote wide-ranging cultural exchange but also engages in cultural dialogues rooted in local partnerships and collaborations. Through its programming, the Goethe-Institut strives to develop innovative concepts for a world made more human through mutual understanding, where cultural diversity is seen as an asset.