The widely acclaimed DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2014 announced Cyrus Mistry as the winner this year for his book ‘Chronicle of a Corpse Bearer’ at the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival. The US $50,000 DSC Prize along with a unique trophy was awarded to Cyrus, who is the second Indian to win this award. His winning book mirrors the painful saga of love within the small Parsi community of corpse bearers.
The six shortlisted authors and books in contention for the DSC Prize were 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)
The DSC Prize Secretariat had received close to 70 entries this year with participation from publishers in South Asia, UK, USA, Canada and Australia amongst others. 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 further reflecting the importance of South Asia’s rapidly expanding book market.
The fourth edition of the DSC Prize 2014 was judged by a diverse and distinguished Jury comprising of eminent members from the international literary fraternity – 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.
While announcing the winner, Antara Dev Sen, the DSC Prize 2014 Jury Chair said,“Cyrus Mistry’s Chronicle of a Corpse Bearer is a deeply moving book, exquisitely drawn on a small, almost claustrophobic canvas. It takes a tiny slice of life, the life of the Khandhias or corpse bearers of the Parsi community, and weaves a powerful story about this downtrodden caste we know so little about. A fantastic storyteller, Mistry offers a beautiful novel rich in historical detail and existential angst, gently questioning the way we look at justice, custom, love, life and death.”