The US $50,000 DSC Prize for South Asian Literature, which celebrates the richness and diversity of South Asian writing, will award its fourth winner on January 18th, 2014 at the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival, one of the biggest literary festivals in the region. The announcement would be made at the Award Ceremony at 6pm at the Front Lawns of the Diggi Palace and Mr. Shashi Tharoor, MP and Minister of State for Human Resource Development would give away the trophy to the winner. Some of the major literary influencers, including over 250 authors, corporate literary patrons, media and literary enthusiasts are expected to be present for the announcement.
Currently in its fourth year, the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature is being judged by an eminent international jury panel which comprises Antara Dev Sen, editor, writer and literary critic and chair of the DSC Prize jury, Arshia Sattar, an eminent Indian translator, writer and a teacher, Ameena Saiyid, the MD of Oxford University Press in Pakistan, Rosie Boycott, acclaimed British journalist and editor and Paul Yamazaki, a veteran bookseller and one of the most respected names in the book trade in the US.
The shortlist of six was announced at the London School of Economics in November. The shortlisted books and authors in contention for the DSC Prize 2014 are:
Anand: Book of Destruction (Translated by Chetana Sachidanandan; Penguin, India)
Benyamin: Goat Days (Translated by Joseph Koyippalli; Penguin, India)
Cyrus Mistry: Chronicle of a Corpse Bearer (Aleph Book Company, India)
Mohsin Hamid: How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia (Hamish Hamilton/Penguin, India)
Nadeem Aslam: The Blind Man’s Garden (Random House, India)
Nayomi Munaweera: Island of a Thousand Mirrors (Perera Hussein Publishing, Sri Lanka)
These books which represent the finest writings about South Asia have been well received by the literary fraternity worldwide. The shortlist is an interesting mix of established and new writers; it includes two translations and comprises Indian, Pakistani and Sri Lankan authors. The DSC Prize for South Asian Literature which is specifically focused on South Asian writing is unique in the sense that 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. The last three years have had winners from three different countries in South Asia- HM Naqvi from Pakistan (Homeboy: Harper Collins, India), Shehan Karunatilaka from Sri Lanka (Chinaman, Random House, India) and Jeet Thayil from India (Narcopolis, Faber & Faber, London). Each of these winners has gone on to be published internationally and their work has reached a larger global audience which has been one of the central visions of the DSC Prize.
Commenting on the announcement, Manhad Narula, Steering Committee member of the DSC Prize said, “There are six excellent books in the shortlist that are vying for the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2014. These represent the finest writing about the region and comprise a healthy mix of established and new writers as well as translated works into English. While each of these shortlisted books has already made a mark in the South Asian literary landscape, it would be interesting to see which book the esteemed jury panel finally chooses as the winner. I would like to wish each of the shortlisted authors the very best.”
The DSC Prize for South Asian Literature has been involved in supporting the cause of South Asian literature over the years. It is committed to widen the conversation on South Asian writing by reaching out to diverse audiences through its various events and initiatives. This year along with the annual DSC Prize Winner’s Tour where the winner was taken to select South Asian cities for readings and interactions with literary enthusiasts, the DSC Prize has deepened its engagement with college students by partnering with Delhi University colleges for a collegiate writing contest. This was a successful endeavour and generated widespread interest. Every year the DSC Prize also takes its shortlisted authors to select colleges for book readings and face to face interactions with interested students.