The shortlist for the DSC South Asian Literature Prize 2016 was unveiled at an event in London….reports Asian Lite News. Akhil Sharma: Family Life, Anuradha Roy: Sleeping on Jupiter. K.R. Meera: Hang Woman (Translated by J Devika); Mirza Waheed: The Book of Gold Leaves; Neel Mukherjee: The Lives of Others; and Raj Kamal Jha: She Will Build Him A City
Established in 2010, the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature awards a prize of US $50,000 for the best work in fiction to one author from any ethnicity or nationality provided they write about South Asia and its people. The winner will be announced at the Galle Literary Festival in Sri Lanka, on 16th January 2016.
The DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2016 shortlist comprises:
- Akhil Sharma: Family Life (Faber & Faber, UK) – he was named one of Granta’s ‘Best of Young American Novelists’ in 2007
- Anuradha Roy: Sleeping on Jupiter (Hachette, India) – won the Economist Crossword Prize for Fiction for her novel The Folded Earth
- K.R. Meera: Hang Woman (Translated by J Devika; Penguin, India) – recognized with some of the most prestigious prizes for literary writing in Malayalam i
- Mirza Waheed: The Book of Gold Leaves (Viking/Penguin India) – debut novel The Collaborator an international bestseller and was shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award, book of the year for Telegraph, New Statesman, Financial Times
- Neel Mukherjee: The Lives of Others (Vintage/Penguin Random House, UK) – His first novel, A Life Apart (2010), won the Vodafone-Crossword Award in India, the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain Award for best fiction
- Raj Kamal Jha: She Will Build Him A City (Bloomsbury, India) – His novels include The Blue Bedspread, shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award, winner of the 2000 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best First Book (Eurasia) and a New York Times Notable Book of the Yea
Dr Mukulika Banerjee, Director of the South Asia Centre and Associate Professor in Anthropology at the LSE, welcomed the audience. SC Prize for South Asian Literature prides itself on a thorough and transparent judging process and is modelled on global best practices. The jury panel is made up of eminent figures who have all worked in or around South Asia and understand the fabric of the society needed to best judge the narrative around the texts.
This year’s shortlist was judged by an international five member jury panel comprised of Mark Tully, Chair of the jury panel and renowned journalist who has commentated on a wide range of issues affecting the South Asian region for over four decades; Dennis Walder, Emeritus Professor of Literature at the Open University, UK, who has authored several articles and books on 19th and 20th century literature; Karen Allman, highly respected book seller and literary coordinator based out of Seattle, USA; Neloufer de Mel, Senior Professor of English at the University of Colombo, Sri Lanka, who has written extensively on society, culture and feminism; and Syed Manzoorul Islam, celebrated Bangladeshi writer, translator, critic and academic.
Mark Tully, Jury Chair said: ‘We have had to make difficult decisions because all the books on the very varied long-list could qualify for the shortlist. Our final list still reflects the variety and vigour of South Asian fiction writing and writing about South Asia. One of the most striking features of the list is the quality of writing. The novels are also remarkable for their realism and for the way they convey atmosphere. I am particularly glad that a translation from a South Asian language into English is included in the shortlist’.
Another highlight of the prize is that writing in regional languages is highly encouraged and the prize money is equally shared between the author and the translator in case a translated entry wins. This works as a great impetus for regional writers who often struggle to gain visibility on international shores.
Speaking about the shortlist, Surina Narula, MBE and co-founder of the DSC Prize said, ‘Once again tonight we have seen some of the world’s greatest authors recognised for their fantastic contributions to the genre of South Asian literature. It was a difficult process for the jury to whittle down the longlist to just six shortlisted entries; but I think they have chosen wisely. The array of talent that we continue to showcase is breath-taking and reflective of the South Asia’s changing dynamics.”