Two Pakistani-origin authors are among the six writers shortlisted for the 2019 DSC Prize for South Asian Literature, the organizers of the award announced on Thursday.
Unveiled at the London School of Economics & Political Science, the shortlist for the ninth annual DSC Prize for South Asian Literature features six novels, including 99 Nights in Logar by Pakistan-born and U.S.-based Jamil Jan Kochai, and The Empty Room by Pakistani-origin author Sadia Abbas. Of the shortlisted authors, three are debut novelists. The full list of books on the shortlist follows:
Half the Night is Gone by Amitabha Bagchi
99 Nights in Logar by Jamil Jan Kochai
The Far Field by Madhuri Vijay
There’s Gunpowder in the Air by Manoranjan Byapari (translated from Bengali by Arunava Sinha)
The City and the Sea by Raj Kamal Jha
The Empty Room by Sadia Abbas
A five-member international jury shortlisted the six final candidates from a longlist of 15 books, as best representative of fiction related to and originating from the South Asian region.
This year’s jury compromises former professor of English at the University of Delhi Harish Trivedi, who is serving as jury chair; Jeremy Tambling, former Professor of Literature at the University of Manchester; Kunda Dixit, editor of the Nepali Times newspaper in Kathmandu, and author of several books on the South Asian region; Carmen Wickramagamage, professor of English at the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka; and Rifat Munim, a bilingual writer, essayist, and translator, and the literary editor of Dhaka Tribune in Bangladesh.
The event to announce the shortlist commenced with a keynote address by international bestselling novelist and eminent playwright Kate Mosse, who spoke about the importance and impact of women in writing and publishing in South Asia, and across the world.
Commenting on the shortlist, jury chair Trivedi said, ““Three of our writers live in South Asia and three live abroad—which fact may not come as a complete surprise. There is now a South Asia beyond South Asia. Two of the six novels are set partly in New Delhi, and partly in the surrounding countryside in one case, and in the other case partly on the Baltic coast. One of the novels is set in Pakistan of the 1970s, one in Kashmir, and one in Afghanistan. The sixth is actually set in a prison and was written originally in Bengali by an author who has actually served time and used that period to learn to read and write. That too is South Asia.”
DSC Prize co-founder Surina Narula thanked the international jury panel for compiling the list of six books chosen for final consideration. “Each of the shortlisted books is a must read and together they represent the very best of South Asian fiction writing. As the prize has always aimed to encourage fresh writing about the South Asian region, I am delighted to find women writers, debut novelists and a translated work on the shortlist, including voices from beyond the region,” she added.
The final winner will be announced at a special Award Ceremony to be hosted in Nepal’s Pokhara during the IME Nepal Literature Festival on Dec. 16, 2019. The winner will receive $25,000 in prize money.