DSC Prize 2011 Longlist

« 2011 Longlist Press Release

Upamanyu Chatterjee: Way to Go (Penguin)

For not having loved one’s dead father enough, could one make amends by loving one’s child more? In a powerful, austere prose shot through with black humour, the story of Way to go is an intensely moving examination of family ties and the redemptive power of love, however imperfect, in the midst of death and degeneration.

Upamanyu Chatterjee is the author of books such as English, August: An Indian Story (1988), The Mammaries of the Welfare State (2000) which won the Sahitya Akademi Award for writing in English and Weight Loss (2006). In 2008, he was awarded the Order of Officier des Arts et des Lettres by the French Government for his contribution to literature.

Amit Chaudhuri: The Immortals (Picador India)

The Immortals is set in Bombay during the 1970s and early 1980s. It traces the history of two families, one bathed in corporate affluence and the other subsisting on its musical tradition. The book is an ordered tabulation of their unremarkable existence, with the words on the page like the agglomeration of notes on a music sheet.

Amit Chaudhuri is an internationally recognised Indian English author, an academic, and an acclaimed Indian classical musician. He is the winner of the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best First Book for A Strange and Sublime Address in 1991 and the 2002 winner of the Sahitya Akademi Award for A New World. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

He is currently teaching Contemporary Literature at the University of East Anglia.

Chandrahas Choudhury: Arzee the Dwarf (HarperCollins)

Arzee the Dwarf’s dream has come true. He has been crowned as the head projectionist at the Noor, the Bombay cinema where he has been working since his teens. Arzee thinks the worst of his troubles are behind him, and that he can marry and settle down now. But not for the first time, Arzee has it all wrong!

Chandrahas Choudhury was educated at the Universities of Delhi and Cambridge and now lives in Mumbai. He writes about books for Mint, and his reviews also appear in the Observer and the Sunday Telegraph.  Arzee the Dwarf is his first novel.

Musharraf Ali Farooqi: The Story of a Widow (Picador India)

In the neighbourhood of Karachi, Mona, a recently widowed mother of two grown women is trying to settle into her new life. Things take an unexpected turn when the affable, yet impertinent Salamat Ali moves in next door and eventually proposes to marry her. As her family swoops in to defend her honour, Mona asserts herself against their ministrations and makes a most unpredictable decision.

Musharraf Ali Farooqi is known for his critically acclaimed translation of the Indo-Islamic legend, The Adventures of Amir Hamza, published in 2007. He is currently translating the world’s first magical fantasy epic Tilism-e Hoshruba, as well as working on the graphic novel Rabbit Rap.

Ru Freeman: A Disobedient Girl (Penguin/Viking)

A Disobedient Girl is an epic, heartbreaking novel about the linked destinies of two women, set against the backdrop of beautiful, politically turbulent Sri Lanka.
Ru Freeman is a Sri Lankan writer whose political journalism and fiction has been published internationally.
She lives in Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania.

Anjum Hassan: Neti Neti (IndiaInk/Roli Books)

Twenty-five year old Sophia Das has moved from Shillong to Bangalore in search of work, fun and liberty. The book follows Sophia and her friends through the money-mad city where she feels more and more alienated. Events take a turn when a horrific murder sends her back to her hometown where both her parents seem to be chasing separate dreams. Will Sophia be able to pull back from the brink and find herself a home?

Anjum Hasan is the author of the book of poems Street on the Hill and the highly acclaimed novel Lunatic in my Head (2007) which was short-listed for the Crossword Fiction Award.

She has also written essays and short fiction for several publications, including the Hindu Literary Review, The Little Magazine, Tehelka, Mint Lounge, First City and Outlook Traveller. She lives in Bangalore with her writer husband.

Tania James: Atlas of Unknowns (Pocket Books)

When 17-year-old Anju wins a scholarship to study art in New York, she eagerly embraces all that America offers her. But Anju harbours a guilty secret and when it is exposed she goes into hiding learning more than she bargained for. Meanwhile, back home in Kerela, her sister Linno sets out, determined to find her.

Tania James was born in 1980 and raised in Kentucky. She graduated from Harvard University in film-making and received her Masters in Fine Arts from Columbia University. She currently lives in New York City. Atlas of Unknowns is her first novel.

Manju Kapur: The Immigrant (Faber & Faber)

When Nina, a 30-year-old lecturer based in Delhi goes in for an arranged marriage with Ananda and relocates to Canada, she realises the changes in her life are far greater than she ever could have imagined. As certain truths about Ananda and their relationship unfold, she realises that establishing a new life will cost more than she expected and that some things can never be left behind.

Manju Kapur is author of Difficult Daughters, which won the Commonwealth Writers Prize for First Book (Eurasia Section). She currently lives in New Delhi and recently retired from teaching English literature at Miranda House College, University of Delhi. The Immigrant is her fourth novel.

Daniyal Mueenuddin: In Other Rooms, Other Wonders (Bloomsbury)

Daniyal Mueenuddin graduated from Dartmouth College and Yale Law School. After winning a Fullbright scholarship to study in Norway, he practiced law in New York before returning to Khanpur, Pakistan to manage the family farm. He divides his time between Cairo and Pakistan.

In Other Rooms, Other Wonders illuminates a place and people, describing the overlapping world of an extended Pakistani landowning family. Stories in this collection have appeared in the New Yorker, Granta, and Salman Rushdie’s Best American Short Story collection. ‘Our Lady of Paris’ was nominated for a National Magazine Award

Servants masters, peasants and socialites, all inextricably bound to each other, confront the advantages and constraints of their station, the dissolution of Old ways and the shock of change. These richly textured stories reveal complexities of Pakistani class and culture, as they describe the loves, triumphs misunderstandings and tragedies of everyday life.

Neel Mukherjee: A Life Apart (Constable & Robinson)

Neel Mukherjee was born in Calcutta and educated in Calcutta, Oxford, and Cambridge. He reviews fiction for the Times and TIME Magazine Asia and has written for the TLS, the Daily Telegraph, the Observer, the New York Times, the Boston Review, the Sunday Telegraph and Biblio. He is also a contributing editor to Boston Review.

Neel Mukherjee was born in Calcutta. A Life Apart, published as Past Continuous in India, is his first novel. He divides his time between London and the USA.

Set in India during the 1970s and ’80s, in England in the ’90s and in Raj Bengal in the 1900s, the award-winning first novel, A Life Apart, from one of India’s most acclaimed new writers is about dislocation and alienation, outsiders and losers, the tenuous and unconscious intersections of lives and histories, and the consolations of storytelling. Unsentimental yet full of compassion, and written with unrelenting honesty, this scalding debut marks a new turning point in writing from and of the Subcontinent.

HM Naqvi: Home Boy (HarperCollins)

Home Boy is at once an immigrant’s tale, a mystery, a story of love and loss as well as a unique meditation on America and notions of collective identity. It announces the debut of an original, electrifying voice in contemporary fiction.

H.M. Naqvi graduated from Georgetown and has done a creative writing programme at Boston University. He has worked in finance, run a slam venue, and taught creative writing courses. He is the winner of a Phelam Prize and has received a Lannan fellowship.

He currently resides in Karachi.

Salma: The Hour Past Midnight (Zubaan, translated by Lakshmi Holmström)

Translated from the Tamil original, the book follows the lives of Rabia, Rahima, Zohra, Amina, Khadija, Firdaus, Farida and Nuramma behind their closed, male dominated world. In the heart-breaking world of these Muslim women in India small rebellions and compromises are made, friendships are built and broken, families come together and fall apart and slowly, almost imperceptibly, change creeps in, and before they know it, the women’s lives have changed forever.

Born in 1968 in Tamil Nadu, Salma’s first poetry collection shocked conservative society where women are supposed to remain silent. In 2003, Salma and three other Tamil women poets faced obscenity charges and violent threats. Salma was head of the panchayat (local governing body) of Thuvarankurichi, near Trichi in Tamil Nadu.

She is now chairperson of the Tamil Nadu Social Welfare Board.

Sankar: The Middleman (Penguin, translated by Arunava Sinha)

The Middleman is the moving story of Somnath Banerjee, as he grows from an idealistic young man into a corrupt business man. Torn between who he is and what he wants to be he becomes a terrifying portrait of the price a city extracts from its youth. The novel deftly exposes the decaying values and rampant corruption of a metropolis that is built on broken dreams and morbid reality.

Mani Sankar Mukherji is one of Bengal’s most widely read novelists. Two of his novels, Seemabaddha (Company Limited) and Jana Aranya (The Middleman), were turned into films by Satyajit Ray.

He lives and works in Kolkata.

Ali Sethi: The Wish Maker (Penguin)

Zaki Shirazi returns to Lahore to celebrate the wedding of his cousin and childhood companion Samar Api. Home is not what it used to be, Musharraf is in power, there has been a boom and Lahore seems to have seen ‘too much too soon.’

Ali Sethi was born in Lahore in 1984 and grew up there. In 2002, he left to attend college in the United States and graduated in 2006. He has since written reviews and articles for several publications, local and international, and has co-produced and narrated a documentary on student politics in Pakistan. He lived in New York City for a year and now lives in Lahore, where he is making music.

Jaspreet Singh: Chef (Bloomsbury)

Kirpal Singh is travelling to a military camp in Kashmir after a gap of fourteen years. In Srinagar, amidst erratic violence, he learns to prepare indulgent Kashmiri dishes as well as delicacies from Florence, Madrid, Athens and Tokyo. Under the guidance of the caustic tongued Chef Kishen, he feels secure in his allegiance to India, till on a fateful day he encounters a Pakistani ‘terrorist’ swept up on the banks of the river.

Jaspreet Singh’s debut short-story collection, Seventeen Tomatoes won the 2004 McAuslan First Book Prize.

Chef, his first novel, won the Georges Bugnet Award for Fiction, was longlisted for the 2010 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and shortlisted for the 2009 Commonwealth Writer’s Prize for the Best Book in the Region.

He is a former research scientist with a PhD in Chemical engineering from McGill University, Montreal. He lives in the Canadian Rockies.

Aatish Taseer: The Temple Goers (Penguin/Viking)

A young man returns home to Delhi after several years abroad and resumes his place amongst the cosmopolitan elite only to find everything around him has changed. Then he meets Aakash who introduces him to the squalid underside of this sprawling city and an intense and disturbing friendship develops. But when Aakash is detained for questioning over a murder, the two of them are suddenly swept up in a politically sensitive investigation that exposes the true corruption at the heart of this new and ruthless society.

Aatish Taseer has worked as a reporter for publications like Time magazine, Sunday Times and India Today. He has also written a travel memoir, Stranger to History: A Son’s Journey through Islamic Lands (2009) and a highly acclaimed translation, Manto: Selected Stories (2008).

He lives in Delhi and London.