Saturday 29 November 2014

DSC Prize for South Asian Literature Shortlist Announced

The shortlist for the fifth annual DSC Prize for South Asian Literature was announced at the London School of Economics and Political Science late last week. 

A dynamic mix of books made the cut. The shortlist of five features: two authors of Indian origin, Jhumpa Lahiri (The Lowland - Vintage Books / Random House, India) and Shamsur Rahman Faruqi (The Mirror of Beauty - Penguin Books, India); Pakistani authors Bilal Tanweer (The Scatter Here is Too Great - Vintage Books / Random House, India) and Kamila Shamsie (A God in Every Stone - Bloomsbury, India); and Sri Lankan born British writer Romesh Gunesekera (Noontide Toll - Hamish Hamilton / Penguin, India).

The shortlist was announced by an international five member jury panel  that comprised: Keki Daruwalla, Indian writer and poet; John Freeman, author, literary critic and former editor of Granta; Maithree Wickramasinghe, a professor of English at the University of Kelaniya Sri Lanka and the University of Sussex and an expert on gender studies; Michael Worton, Emeritus Professor at University College London, who has written extensively on modern literature and art; and Razi Ahmed, founding director of the annual, Lahore Literary Festival. 

Keki Daruwalla, chair of the jury said: “It was a difficult task to zero in on a shortlist from an enjoyable, if formidable longlist. There were two first novels as well as novels by established writers and a translation. There were moments of great beauty in the multiple narratives and the jury was impressed by the deep structure of each book and the way characters were developed.  All the novelists engaged with rich, historical and experimental traditions of storytelling. The landscape in all the novels was quintessentially South Asian. The jury was glad to find that the plots were uniformly organic and the writers did not succumb to formulaic writing. Most of the novels grappled with the socio-political realities on the ground. All of them did so in ways that were moving, challenging, and thought-provoking.” 

The winner of the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2015 will be awarded at the Jaipur Literature Festival on 22nd January 2015.   

Shortlisted Authors:

§ Bilal Tanweer: The Scatter Here is Too Great (Vintage Books / Random House, India) 

§ Jhumpa Lahiri: The Lowland (Vintage Books / Random House, India)

§ Kamila Shamsie: A God in Every Stone (Bloomsbury, India)   

§ Romesh Gunesekera: Noontide Toll (Hamish Hamilton / Penguin, India)      

§ Shamsur Rahman Faruqi: The Mirror of Beauty (Penguin, India)

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