The much anticipated longlist for the US $25,000 DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2017 was announced today by eminent feminist writer and publisher Ritu Menon, who is the chair of the jury panel for the distinguished prize. The longlist of 13 novels which was unveiled at the Oxford Bookstore in New Delhi, represents a diverse mix of established writers and debut novelists from different backgrounds and geographies. It includes 7 Indian writers, 3 Pakistani writers, 2 Sri Lankan writers and 1 American writer based in India. An interesting facet which emerges is the intertwining of South Asian life with the global landscape as the novels seamlessly move across multiple characters, settings and geographies. Apart from authors based in the South Asian region there were several examples of authors who were based outside the region and who incisively explored South Asian life and culture from an outside perspective. This year the DSC Prize received more than 60 eligible entries and the five member international jury panel diligently went through these entries to arrive at this year’s longlist of 13 novels which they feel represent the best works of fiction related to the South Asian region.
The longlisted entries contending for the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2017 are:
· Anjali Joseph: The Living (Fourth Estate, HarperCollins, UK)
· Anosh Irani: The Parcel (Fourth Estate, HarperCollins, India)
· Anuk Arudpragasam: The Story of a Brief Marriage (Granta Books, UK)
· Aravind Adiga: Selection Day (Fourth Estate, HarperCollins, India)
· Ashok Ferrey: The Ceaseless Chatter of Demons (Penguin Books, Penguin Random House, India)
· Hirsh Sawhney: South Haven (Akashic Books, USA)
· Karan Mahajan: The Association of Small Bombs (Chatto & Windus, UK)
· K.R. Meera: The Poison of Love (Translated by Ministhy S, Hamish Hamilton, Penguin Random House, India)
· Omar Shahid Hamid: The Party Worker (Pan Macmillan, India)
· Perumal Murugan: Pyre (Translated by Aniruddhan Vasudevan, Hamish Hamilton, Penguin Random House, India)
· Sarvat Hasin: This Wide Night (Hamish Hamilton, Penguin Random House, India)
· Shahbano Bilgrami: Those Children (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, “Speaking for myself it was also a great pleasure to read this year’s submissions, remarkable for their range, energy and generational sweep. As a jury, we were struck by several exceptional qualities in the novels selected: their inventiveness and creativity, both of subject matter and in literary treatment. We admired the maturity and humanity of the perspective they brought to bear on their characters, and the delicacy of their observations on difficult or troubled situations. We were beguiled by their wit and humour, as well as impressed by the versatility of their skill when dealing with history. And we were reminded that, although the writers’ preoccupations may be universal and their sensibility cosmopolitan, their voices are distinctly South Asian.”
The jury will now deliberate on the longlist over the next month and the shortlist of 5 or 6 books for the DSC Prize 2017 will be announced on 27th September, 2017 at the London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) in London. Thereafter the jury would meet once again to arrive at the final winner that would be announced at a special Award Ceremony at the Dhaka Literary Festival on November 18th, 2017.
Surina Narula, co-founder of the DSC Prize said, “I would like to thank the jury members for going through all the entries received for the DSC Prize 2017 and commend them for coming up with such an excellent longlist. I feel each of the novels on the longlist is a must read as they successfully bring out the nuances and challenges of the ever evolving South Asian life. I find the longlist particularly 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 seventh year, the DSC Prize has been successful in bringing the immense talent writing about the South Asian region to a larger global audience.”
The announcement was preceded by readings by designer & theatre artist Oroon Das who read from Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri which won the DSC Prize in 2015 and from Sleeping on Jupiter by Anuradha Roy which won the DSC Prize in 2016.
The DSC Prize for South Asian Literature prides itself on a 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 and their adjudication is final.
This year’s international jury panel includes Ritu Menon, Valentine Cunningham, Steven Bernstein, Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, and Senath Walter Perera.