In an article early this month we presented the story in brief behind the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature and the longlist of 2018. The story has indeed progressed further since then.
On 14 November 2018, the much-anticipated shortlist for the US $25,000 DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2018 was unveiled at a special event, which took place at the London School of Economics & Political Science. The shortlist of six novels was announced by Rudrangshu Mukherjee, Chair of the DSC Prize 2018 jury panel, who along with the other four jury members Claire Armitstead, Nandana Sen, Firdous Azim and Tissa Jayatilaka had met a day prior to the event to arrive at the shortlist. The shortlist comprises four authors of Indian origin and two authors of Pakistani origin and despite some of them being based outside the South Asian region, their work brings alive a wide spectrum of themes and emotions that are so relevant in contemporary South Asian life. The shortlist also includes a translated book where the original writing was in Kannada.
The six shortlisted entries contending for the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2018 are:
Jayant Kaikini: No Presents Please (Translated by Tejaswini Niranjana, Harper Perennial, HarperCollins India)
Kamila Shamsie: Home Fire (Riverhead Books, USA and Bloomsbury, UK)
Manu Joseph: Miss Laila Armed And Dangerous (Fourth Estate, HarperCollins, India)
Mohsin Hamid: Exit West (Riverhead Books, USA and Hamish Hamilton, Penguin Random House, India)
Neel Mukherjee: A State Of Freedom (Chatto & Windus, Vintage, UK and Hamish Hamilton, Penguin Random House, India)
Sujit Saraf: Harilal & Sons (Speaking Tiger, India)
Speaking on the occasion, Jury Chair Rudrangshu Mukherjee, said, "Being the chair of the jury of the DSC Prize has been one of the most enriching experiences of my life. I say this for two reasons. One is the sheer intellectual excitement of reading, evaluating and discussing these works of fiction. The other is the interactions I had with my four colleagues on the jury. I know I learnt an enormous amount from all of them and for this I am profoundly grateful to all of them. Evaluating these books reminded me once again of the importance of reading in human lives."
Administered by the South Asian Literature Prize & Events Trust, the prestigious DSC Prize for South Asian Literature has helped to raise the profile of South Asian writing around the world by rewarding authors who write on the region. Founded in 2010 by Surina Narula and Manhad Narula, the winning author is awarded a US $25,000 prize. This year the prize received a record 88 entries which included stunning portrayals of migration, war and the pain of displacement, poignant love stories, the exploration of new found relationships and identities, and vivification of the personal struggles, hopes and aspirations that symbolize the urgent and divisive realities of contemporary South Asian life.
Commenting on the shortlist, Surina Narula, co-founder of the DSC Prize expressed heartfelt gratitude to the judges and said, “The long list announced last month was an impressive list; it must have been a challenging task for the jury to bring this down to a shortlist of 6 books. The shortlist represents the very best of South Asian fiction writing, and the depth, creativity and unique narrative of each of these novels is indeed both impressive and inspirational.”
The prize received close to a quarter of the submissions from publishers based beyond South Asia and from countries such as the UK, USA, Canada, Australia etc, highlighting the growing interest of publishers and authors across the world in South Asian writing. The shortlisted entrants reflect this global interest, and include British-Pakistani author Kamila Shamsie and Indian origin author Neel Mukherjee who are both based in the UK. Pakistani origin author Mohsin Hamid is based between Pakistan, UK and the USA, whilst Sujit Saraf is based in the USA.
Following the announcement of the shortlisted entries, the jury will convene again to select the winning author, ahead of the final award ceremony to be held at the Tata Steel Kolkata Literary Meet which would take place in Kolkata, India between Jan 22 and Jan 27, 2019
In line with its South Asian essence, the DSC Prize Award ceremony is held in various South Asian countries by rotation. The winner of the DSC Prize 2016 was announced at the Galle Literary Festival in Sri Lanka, the winner of the DSC Prize 2017 was announced at the Dhaka Lit Fest in Bangladesh, whereas the winner of the DSC Prize 2018 would be announced at the Tata Steel Kolkata Literary Meet which would take place in Kolkata, India between Jan 22 and Jan 27, 2019.