The longlist represents the best of South Asian fiction writing over the last year and includes submissions from a diverse mix of publishers and authors of different backgrounds writing on a wide range of issues and themes. The novels include 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 symbolise the urgent and divisive realities of contemporary South Asian life.
Apart from authors based in South Asia there are writers based outside the region who have incisively and evocatively brought alive the subtle nuances of South Asian life and culture.
This year, the DSC Prize, administered by the South Asian Literature Prize & Events Trust, received 88 eligible entries and the five member international jury panel diligently went through these entries to arrive at this year’s longlist of 16 novels which they feel represent the best works of fiction related to the South Asian region.
Speaking on the occasion, Rudrangshu said, “My fellow jurors and I read through over 80 works of fiction and then arrived at this list of 16 which we will further prune to prepare a shortlist and then finally a winner. It was an exhilarating and an exhausting exercise reading these books and then preparing this list. Exhausting because of the work involved and I don’t need to emphasise this. Exhilarating because of the plethora of extraordinary talent that we encountered. Writers were willing to experiment with form, with unusual themes and to express themselves with elegance. I encountered touching poignancy, wit and verve and great inventiveness. In many ways trying to judge such a talented group of writers is a humbling experience.”
The jury will now deliberate on the longlist over the next month and the shortlist of five or six books for the DSC Prize 2018 will be announced on 14th November, 2018 at the London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) in London. Thereafter, the jury would meet once again to arrive at the final winner that would be announced at a special Award Ceremony to be hosted in a South Asian city.
Surina Narula, co-founder of the DSC Prize, said, “I commend the jury panel for going through all the entries and coming up with such an excellent longlist for the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2018. I find the longlist exciting and feel that each of the novels is a must read as they successfully bring out the nuances and challenges of the ever evolving South Asian life.”
This year’s international jury panel includes Rudrangshu Mukherjee, jury chair, professor of history and the Chancellor of Ashoka University; Nandana Sen, a writer, actor and child-rights activist and author of six books; Claire Armitstead , associate editor, Culture, for the Guardian in London; Tissa Jayatilaka, who has been the executive director of the US-Sri Lanka Fulbright Commission and is the author of several publications and has translated and edited many journals, and Firdous Azim, professor of English at BRAC University, Bangladesh.
The USD 25,000 DSC Prize for South Asian Literature which was instituted by Surina Narula and Manhad Narula in 2010, is one of the most prestigious international literary awards specifically focused on South Asian writing.
The longlisted entries contending for the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2018 are:
Anuradha Roy: All The Lives We Never Lived (Hachette, India)
Arundhati Roy: The Ministry Of Utmost Happiness (Alfred Knopf, USA and Hamish Hamilton, Canada)
Chandrakanta: The Saga of Satisar (Translated by Ranjana Kaul, Zubaan Books, India)
Deepak Unnikrishnan: Temporary People (Penguin Books, Penguin Random House, India)
Jayant Kaikini: No Presents Please (Translated by Tejaswini Niranjana, Harper Perennial, HarperCollins India)
Jeet Thayil: The Book of Chocolate Saints (Aleph Book Company, India and Faber & Faber, UK)
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, USA and Hamish Hamilton, Penguin Random House, India)
Perumal Murugan: Poonachi (Translated by N Kalyan Raman, Context, Westland Publications, India)
Prayaag Akbar: Leila (Simon & Schuster, India)
Rita Chowdhury: Chinatown Days (Translated by Rita Chowdhury, Macmillan, Pan Macmillan, India)
SJ Sindu: Marriage of a Thousand Lies (Soho Press, USA)
Sujit Saraf: Harilal & Sons (Speaking Tiger, India)
Tabish Khair: Night Of Happiness (Picador, Pan Macmillan, India)