Anticipation around the 2nd annual DSC Prize for South Asian Literature continued to rise last night as the shortlist was announced at a prestigious gala event at London’s Globe Theatre. Long-listed authors, publishers, London’s literati, ambassadors from the South Asian region gathered together for the event, which was also the finale of the 2011 DSC South Asian Literature Festival in London. Guests were treated to a stirring performance by award-winning producer and Tabla player Talvin Singh, alongside Sarod maestro Soumik Datta, while the winner of the first DSC Prize, Pakistani writer H.M. Naqvi gave a dazzling reading from his winning novel Home Boywhich has just been published by Penguin in the UK.
After intense deliberation over the longlist comprising 16 books, the eminent Jury, chaired by Ira Pande along with renowned literary figures Dr. Alastair Niven, Dr. Fakrul Alam, Faiza S. Khan, and Marie Brenner, selected the shortlist for this major international award. The DSC Prize for South Asian Literature has a prize value of $50,000 for the best writing about the South Asian region.
The shortlist of 6 books for the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature, 2012 is as follows:
- U.R. Ananthamurthy: Bharathipura (Oxford University Press, India, Translated by Susheela Punitha)
- Chandrakanta: A Street in Srinagar (Zubaan Books, India, Translated by Manisha Chaudhry)
- Usha K.R: Monkey-man (Penguin/Penguin India)
- Shehan Karunatilaka: Chinaman (Random House, India)
- Tabish Khair: The Thing About Thugs (Fourth Estate/HarperCollins-India)
- Kavery Nambisan: The Story that Must Not Be Told (Viking/Penguin India)
Speaking on the occasion, Chairperson of the Jury, Ira Pande said, “The task before the jury was not easy; the main hurdle was how to sift the clever and stylish from the real and true tale. All of us were united in feeling that a novel by any definition must have a strong tale to tell. While there will always be legitimate differences between jury members on individual choices, I think we were fortunate this year in arriving at a broad consensus on what we were looking for. I have a twinge of regret, as doubtless other jury members do too, that we could not include some of the terrific novels we had before us but that has been a cross that every jury has had to carry.
The DSC Prize for South Asian Literature is an agency of acquainting readers to the rich diversity of South Asia’s myriad language traditions. This is just the second year since this Prize was instituted and I am sure that in the coming years, it will bring forward a world whose time to take centre-stage has arrived.”
The DSC Prize for South Asian Literature is a first-of-its-kind initiative as it is specifically focused on the richness and diversity of South Asian writing. The prize is also unique since it is not ethnicity driven in terms of the author’s origin and is open to any author belonging to any part of the globe as long as the work is based on the South Asian region and its people.
In January 2011, the inaugural DSC Prize was won by Pakistani author HM Naqvi for his debut novel Home Boy (HarperCollins India) which has gone on to become one of the most celebrated recent renditions on South Asia. Following the announcement, Home Boy was acquired by Hamish Hamilton [Penguin Books] in the UK. It is now being published by Penguin in the UK and British Commonwealth, realizing one of the central visions of the prize, which is to propagate and present South Asian writing to a larger global audience.
The DSC Prize initiative has been guided by an international Advisory Committee comprising MJ Akbar, Urvashi Butalia, Tina Brown, William Dalrymple, Lord Meghnad Desai, David Godwin, Surina Narula, Senath Walter Perera, Nayantara Sehgal and Michael Worton.
Thanking the Jury, Mr Manhad Narula, Director, DSC Limited said, “The jury had a challenging task in narrowing down the longlist to the shortlist of the most deserving six. These represent the finest works of fiction pertaining to the South Asian region and I extend my best wishes to each one of the shortlisted authors. I now look forward with excitement to the jury announcing the final winner of the DSC Prize at the DSC Jaipur Literature Festival in January 2012”
The winner of the second DSC Prize for South Asian Literature will be announced at the DSC Jaipur Literature Festival on 21st January 2012. The prize will be awarded for the best work of fiction pertaining to the South Asian region, published in English, including translations into English.
Please visit www.dscprize.com for more details.
The DSC South Asian Literature Festival 2011 took place in London from 7-24th October. Please visit www.dscsouthasianlitfest.com for details.
Notes to Editors: DSC Limited Literary Initiatives
In its endeavour to contribute to social growth and create social infrawealth, DSC Limited has identified the promotion of literature as a key initiative. The company firmly believes that promoting literature helps build the character of society, just as its infrastructure projects help create the infrawealth of the nation.
As a major move towards promoting literature, the company has been the principal sponsor of the DSC Jaipur Literature Festival for the last five years. During this period, this event has grown to become the largest literary event of its kind in the region.
As an extension of its innate vision to promote South Asian Literature, DSC Limited instituted the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature, with a prize money of USD 50,000. This unique prize is a celebration of the rich and varied world of literature belonging to the South Asian region.
In order to further strengthen its association with South Asian Literature, DSC Limited is also presenting the DSC South Asian Literature Festival held in London for the second year this October. With growing interest and a robust following of South Asian writing in the UK, this event is a critical step in extending the company’s patronage of literature to a global platform.