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Six Books Make it to the Shortlist of the DSC Prize 2014

Leading international prize on South Asian literature announces three Indian authors, two Pakistani authors and one Sri Lankan author alongside two translators in the shortlist of six books

London, November 20, 2013: The shortlist announcement event of the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2014, has showcased the six finest works of South Asian fiction writing to the literary world. The ceremony held at The Shaw Library in the London School of Economics (LSE), was keenly attended by authors, publishers, London’s literati and key people associated with the South Asian region. Lord Meghnad Desai, Professor Emeritus at the LSE and who has been on the Advisory Committee of the DSC Prize, in his opening address emphasized the significant role of the DSC Prize in the world of South Asian literature today. The DSC Prize for South Asian Literature carries an award of US $50,000 for the winner to honour the best writing about the South Asian region. Since the time of its inception in 2010, the DSC Prize has significantly impacted and drawn the focus of the world towards South Asian literature and the authors writing about this region.

The jury for the DSC Prize this year comprises Antara Dev Sen, editor, writer and literary critic and chair of the jury, Arshia Sattar, an eminent Indian translator, writer and a teacher, Ameena Saiyid, the MD of Oxford University Press in Pakistan, Rosie Boycott, acclaimed British journalist and editor and Paul Yamazaki, a veteran bookseller and one of the most respected names in the book trade in the US.

After intense reflection over the longlist comprising 15 books, the eminent jury selected the shortlist for this major international award.

The shortlist of six books for the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature, 2014 is:

  1. Anand: Book of Destruction (Translated by Chetana Sachidanandan; Penguin, India)

  2. Benyamin: Goat Days   (Translated by Joseph Koyippalli; Penguin, India)

  3. Cyrus Mistry: Chronicle of a Corpse Bearer (Aleph Book Company, India)

  4. Mohsin Hamid: How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia (Hamish Hamilton/Penguin, India)

  5. Nadeem Aslam: The Blind Man’s Garden (Random House, India)

  6. Nayomi Munaweera: Island of a Thousand Mirrors (Perera Hussein Publishing, Sri Lanka)

Speaking on the occasion, the jury chair, Antara Dev Sen said, “It is not easy to judge literature. Gut response is justified by fixing criteria, focusing on style, idiom, theme, plot, structure, characterization, originality and other factors. While drawing up the shortlist for the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature, jury members leaned on all these criteria and still had justifiable differences of opinion, which were sorted out through impassioned but informed debate. The longlisted books were enchantingly diverse in subject, treatment and style. Of these excellent 15, we selected six which offer the heart of South Asia in all its cultural, linguistic, ethnic and religious diversity. We were forced to abandon some superbly crafted, smart and stylish novels as we chose six beautiful books from India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, each a window opening onto the complexity of the South Asian experience, peopled by identities shaped by the violence of poverty, conflict, terrorism, migration, caste prejudice and gender discrimination. We have half a dozen expressions of the restive edginess that emerges from the relentless friction between eternal verities, rapid change and indomitable hope. We have two novels in translation and a first book by a new woman writer. We trust this shortlist offers a glimpse of the enormous power and variety of South Asian fiction.”

The DSC Prize for South Asian Literature prides in pioneering the initiative of highlighting the richness and diversity of South Asian writing. The prize is also unique since it is not ethnicity driven in terms of the author’s origin and is open to any author belonging to any part of the globe as long as the work is based on the South Asian region and its people. The prize is now in its 4th edition and the last three 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) and Jeet Thayil from India (Narcopolis, Faber & Faber, London). 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.

Thanking the Jury, Manhad Narula of the DSC Prize Steering Committee said, “The jury had a challenging task in narrowing down the longlist of 15 books to the shortlist of six. As per the jury’s verdict, these books represent some of the finest works of fiction of the South Asian region and I extend my best wishes to each one of the shortlisted authors. I now look forward with excitement to the jury announcing the final winner of the DSC Prize at the DSC Jaipur Literature Festival in January 2014″

The winner of the fourth DSC Prize for South Asian Literature will be announced at the DSC Jaipur Literature Festival on 18th January 2014. The US $50,000 prize will be awarded for the best work of fiction pertaining to the South Asian region, published in English, including translations into English. In case a translated entry wins the award, the prize money would be shared equally between the author and the translator.

For more information, please contact:DSC Prize Steering CommitteeGenesis Burson-Marsteller Deepa Kumar Sophia Christina +91-9811993926 / +91-9811282008

About DSC Limited’s Literary Initiatives

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 five 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 2010 and 2011 editions of DSC South Asian Literature Festival in the UK.


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