The much anticipated longlist for the US $25,000 DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2017 was announced today (10th August 2017) 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. The longlist comprises three debut novels and also includes two translated entries where the original writing has been in Tamil and Malayalam. 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. The longlist announcement event was attended by publishers, authors and literary enthusiasts who welcomed the selection of the longlist.
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 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 & Knopf Random House Canada)
• 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 and HarperCollins, India)
• Karan Mahajan: The Association of Small Bombs (Chatto & Windus UK, HarperCollins India)
• 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, “It gives me enormous pleasure to announce this Longlist of 13 wonderful novels for the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2017. 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, “The longlist of 13 novels also includes translations as well as works of authors based in different countries all of which bring in diverse perspectives and raise relevant issues. 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. I would 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 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 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 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.
About the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature</h4)
The US $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 7th 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, with the winner of the DSC Prize 2017 announced at the Dhaka Literary Festival, Bangladesh on November 18, 2017. For more information, visit: www.dscprize.com