Four Indian and two Pak authors vie for DSC Prize

ST Correspondent
Friday, 16 November 2018

The entries for the prestigious literary award reflect the urgent and divisive realities of contemporary South Asian life

Four Indian authors and two authors of Pakistani origin are in contention for the coveted DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2018. The shortlist of six novels was announced on Wednesday by Rudrangshu Mukherjee, Chair of the DSC Prize 2018 jury panel, at London School of Economics and Political Science. The six shortlisted entries are: Jayant Kaikini’s No Presents Please (Translated by Tejaswini Niranjana, Harper Perennial, HarperCollins India); Kamila Shamsie for Home Fire (Riverhead Books, USA and Bloomsbury, UK); Manu Joseph’s Miss Laila Armed And Dangerous (Fourth Estate, HarperCollins, India); Mohsin Hamid for his Exit West (Riverhead Books, USA and Hamish Hamilton, Penguin Random House, India); Neel Mukherjee’s A State of Freedom (Chatto & Windus, Vintage, UK and Hamish Hamilton, Penguin Random House, India) and Sujit Saraf’s Harilal & Sons (Speaking Tiger, India)

Speaking on the occasion, Mukherjee, said, “Being the chair of the jury of the DSC Prize has been one of the most enriching experiences of my life. I say this for two reasons. One is the sheer intellectual excitement of reading, evaluating and discussing these works of fiction. The other is the interactions I had with my four colleagues — Claire Armitstead, Nandana Sen, Firdous Azim and Tissa Jayatilaka — on the jury. I know I learnt an enormous amount from all of them.”

Administered by the South Asian Literature Prize & Events Trust, the DSC prize has helped to raise the profile of South Asian writing around the world by rewarding authors who write on the region. Founded in 2010 by Surina Narula and Manhad Narula, the winning author is awarded a US $25,000 prize. This year the prize received a record 88 entries which included stunning portrayals of migration, war and displacement, love stories, the exploration of new found relationships and identities, and vivification of the personal struggles that symbolise the urgent and divisive realities of contemporary South Asian life. 

Commenting on the shortlist, Surina Narula, co-founder of the DSC Prize said, “The longlist announced last month was an impressive list; it must have been a challenging task for the jury to bring this down to a shortlist of six books. The shortlist represents the very best of South Asian fiction writing.” 

The prize received the submissions from publishers based beyond South Asia and from countries such as the UK, USA, Canada, Australia etc, highlighting the growing interest of publishers and authors across the world in South Asian writing. The shortlisted entrants reflect this global interest, and include British-Pakistani author Shamsie and Indian origin author Mukherjee, who are both based in the UK. Pakistani origin author Hamid is based between Pakistan, UK and the USA, whilst Saraf is in the USA. The growing global importance of South Asia coupled with the sweeping changes that are affecting the lives of the people here has encouraged more and more diverse writers to write about this region.

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