The much-anticipated shortlist for the US $25,000 DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2019 was announced recently. The list includes six novels
- Amitabha Bagchi: Half the Night is Gone (Juggernaut Books, India)
- Jamil Jan Kochai: 99 Nights in Logar (Bloomsbury Circus, Bloomsbury, India & UK, and Viking, Penguin Random House, USA)
- Madhuri Vijay: The Far Field (Grove Press, Grove Atlantic, USA)
- Manoranjan Byapari: There’s Gunpowder in the Air (Translated from Bengali by Arunava Sinha, Eka, Amazon Westland, India)
- Raj Kamal Jha: The City and the Sea (Hamish Hamilton, Penguin Random House, India)
- Sadia Abbas: The Empty Room (Zubaan Publishers, India)
The DSC Prize, which is now in its ninth year, is one of the most prestigious international literary awards specifically focused on South Asian fiction writing. The shortlist comprises new and diverse voices and includes four authors of Indian origin and one author each of Pakistani and Afghan origin. It includes three debut novelists including two women writers, as well as a work of translation of a novel originally written in Bengali, said a press release.
Harish Trivedi, chair of the jury commented, “The shortlist that we have arrived at comprises six novels — for the good reason that the five jurors, located in five different countries, could not agree on just five novels. There are two women here, and three debut novelists including both the women. What is it about writing novels that one can get it so right the very first time of asking? Three of our writers live in South Asia and three live abroad — which fact may not come as a complete surprise. There is now a South Asia beyond South Asia. Two of the six novels are set partly in New Delhi, and partly in the surrounding countryside in one case, and in the other case partly on the Baltic coast. One of the novels is set in Pakistan of the 1970s, one in Kashmir, and one in Afghanistan. The sixth is actually set in a prison and was written originally in Bengali by an author who has actually served time and used that period to learn to read and write. That too is South Asia.”
The final winner would be announced at a special Award Ceremony on December 16, 2019 at the IME Nepal Literature Festival in Pokhara in Nepal.