FIRST-TIME authors dominated the shortlist of this year’s DSC Prize for South Asian
Literature, announced last Thursday (7) at the London School of Economics & Political
Among books in the race for the $25,000 award are “The Far Field” by Madhuri Vijay, “The
Empty Room” by Sadia Abbas and “99 Nights in Logar” by Jamil Jan Kochai.
All three writers are currently based in the US; Vijay was born and raised in Bangalore,
Kochai is of Afghan origin, and Abbas grew up in Pakistan and Singapore.
The list also includes Manoranjan Byapari’s “There’s Gunpowder in the Air”, which has been translated from Bengali to English by Arunava Sinha, journalist-writer Raj Kamal Jha’s “The
City and the Sea”, and Amitabha Bagchi’s “Half the Night is Gone”.
Instituted in 2010, the award rewards fiction writing about south Asia comprising
Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
The shortlist was selected from a 15-book longlist by a five-member international jury
chaired by Harish Trivedi, professor of English at the University of Delhi.
“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. Three of our writers live in South Asia and three live abroad – which in fact may not come as a complete surprise. There is now a South Asia beyond South Asia.”
Sunita Narula, co-founder of DSC Prize, said each of the shortlisted books was a must read and together they represented the very best of South Asian fiction writing.
The winner will be announced on December 16 at the Nepal Literature Festival in Pokhara