Longlist announced for US $25,000 DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2018
New Delhi, October 10, 2018: The much anticipated longlist for the US $25,000 DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2018 was announced today by eminent historian and academic Rudrangshu Mukherjee, who is the chair of the jury panel for the distinguished prize.
The longlist of 16 novels which was unveiled at the Oxford Bookstore in New Delhi includes four translated works where the original writings were in Assamese, Kannada, Tamil and Hindi. The longlist features six women authors and three women translators, and two outstanding debut novels that find place alongside the works of several established writers.
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. The longlist announcement event was attended by publishers, authors and literary enthusiasts who welcomed the selection of the longlist.
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.
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)
Speaking on the occasion, Rudrangshu Mukherjee, Chair of the jury commented, “It gives me enormous pleasure to announce this longlist of 16 works of fiction for the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2018. 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. I am certain when we finish the entire judging process, I, at least, will emerge from it an enriched human being.”
The jury will now deliberate on the longlist over the next month and the shortlist of 5 or 6 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. It is heartening to note that this year’s longlist of 16 novels includes four translations which highlight the language diversity of the writing about this region. I am delighted that over the last eight years, the DSC Prize has been successful in its objective of bringing the immense talent writing about the South Asian region to a larger global audience. I would like to congratulate each of the longlisted authors and translators, and wish them the very best. Given such a strong longlist, it will be interesting to see which books make it to the shortlist from here."
The announcement was preceded by a special panel discussion on Translations in South Asian Writing where eminent translators and academics Rakhshanda Jalil and Arunava Sinha were in conversation with academic Amrita Bhalla. Several relevant issues and nuances related to translations were discussed which kept the attending audience captivated.
The DSC Prize for South Asian Literature prides itself on a thorough and transparent judging process and is modeled on global best practices. The five-member international jury panel, which comprises literary luminaries drawn from diverse geographies and expertise, is solely responsible for deciding and arriving at the longlist, the shortlist and the ultimate winner and their adjudication is final.
This year’s international jury panel includes Rudrangshu Mukherjee, Jury Chair, Professor of History and the Chancellor of Ashoka University and an internationally acclaimed historian of the revolt of 1857 in India, Nandana Sen, a writer, actor and child-rights activist and author of six books, who has worked as a book editor, a poetry translator, a screenwriter, and a script doctor, Claire Armitstead, Associate Editor, Culture, for the Guardian in London who has been a theatre critic, arts editor and literary editor, Tissa Jayatilaka, who has been the Executive Director of the United States-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, whose research has focused on women’s writings in the early-20th century Bengal.
About the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature:
The US $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. It is a unique and coveted prize and is open to authors of any ethnicity or nationality as long as the writing is about South Asia and its people. It also encourages writing in regional languages and translations and the prize money is equally shared between the author and the translator in case a translated entry wins.
Now in its 8th year, the DSC Prize has been successful in bringing South Asian writing to a larger global audience through rewarding and showcasing the achievements of the authors writing about this region. Past winners of the DSC Prize have been HM Naqvi of Pakistan, Shehan Karunatilaka of Sri Lanka, Jeet Thayil and Cyrus Mistry from India, American author of Indian origin Jhumpa Lahiri, Anuradha Roy from India, and Anuk Arudpragasam of Sri Lanka who won the prize last year.
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 2015 was announced at the Jaipur Literature Festival in India, 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 in a South Asian country which is being finalised.
Jury for The DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2018
Rudrangshu Mukherjee is Professor of History and the Chancellor of Ashoka University. He was the founding Vice Chancellor of Ashoka University. He taught history at the University of Calcutta and held visiting appointments at Princeton University, the University of Manchester and the University of California, Santa Cruz. He was also the Editor, Editorial Pages, The Telegraph. He studied at Calcutta Boys' School, Presidency College, Kolkata, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, and St. Edmund Hall, Oxford. He was awarded a D.Phil in Modern History by the University of Oxford in 1981. He is internationally acclaimed as a historian of the revolt of 1857 in India. His first book Awadh in Revolt, 1857-58: A Study of Popular Resistance has become a standard reference on the subject. He has looked at the 1857 rebellion in four other books: Spectre of Violence: The 1857 Kanpur Massacres, Mangal Pandey: Brave Martyr or Accidental Hero?, Dateline 1857: Revolt against the Raj and The Year of Blood: Essays on 1857. He is the editor The Penguin Gandhi Reader, Great Speeches of Modern India and Nehru & Bose; Parallel Lives and his most recent book is Twilight Falls on Liberalism.
Nandana Sen is a writer, actor and child-rights activist, and is the author of six books, translated into 15 languages across the world. Nandana grew up in India, England and America, and has starred in over twenty films from four continents. After studying literature at Harvard and filmmaking at U.S.C., Nandana worked as a book editor, a poetry translator, a screenwriter, a script doctor, an advocate for child protection, and as Princess Jasmine in Disneyland. Nandana has worked with young people since her school days, and loves to find new ways of sharing her stories. Her interactive readings have been loved across the world - from literary festivals like Jaipur, Hay, Dhaka, Galle, and Imagine, to schools in London, Delhi, Boston, New York and Tbilisi; from bookstores in India, England, America, and China, to hospitals and orphanages in Asia, Africa and Europe. As Ambassador, Nandana works closely with children and grown-ups in RAHI, Apne Aap, Operation Smile and UNICEF, to fight against child abuse. Nandana has served on the jury of diverse committees, from numerous international film festivals to public hearings organised by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights.
Claire Armitstead is Associate Editor, Culture, for the Guardian. Over a twenty-five year career with the paper she has been a theatre critic, arts editor and literary editor. She presents the Guardian books podcast and she is a trustee of the writers' charity English PEN, which campaigns for and supports freedom of expression. She has recently edited an anthology of fiction, poetry and non-fiction writing about contemporary London, called Tales Of Two Londons: Stories From A Fractured City. Claire was born in south London and spent her early years in northern Nigeria. She went on to read English at Oxford and initially worked as a trainee reporter in South Wales, covering the Welsh valleys during the miners’ strike, before joining the Hampstead & Highgate Express as a theatre critic and sub-editor. She then moved to the Financial Times, and subsequently to the Guardian, where she has worked as arts editor, literary editor, head of books and most recently, Associate Editor (Culture). She also leads workshops and chairs literary events in the UK and around the world.
Tissa Jayatilaka has served as the Executive Director of the bi-national United States-Sri Lanka Fulbright Commission (US-SLFC) since 1989. Jayatilaka is the author of publications as well as involved in translations, editing of journals and collections of essays. These include Peradeniya: Memories of a University (joint Contributory Editor), and A Garland for Ashley: Glimpses of a Life Celebrating the 75th Birthday of Ashley Halpe and His 50 years of University Teaching (joint
Editor). He was Chairman of the Board of Directors of the International Centre for Ethnic Studies, the Gratiaen Trust and a Member, Board of Directors of the Centre for Policy Alternatives. Jayatilaka has taught English and American Literature at several Universities since 1976 – in Sri Lanka and in the United States at Wake Forest University, North Carolina and Grinnell College, Grinnell, Iowa. His interests include international relations, politics, literature and sports. He has a Master of Arts in English from Wake Forest University, North Carolina, and a Post-Graduate Diploma in American Studies from Smith College, Massachusetts.
Firdous Azim is a Professor of English at BRAC University, and a member of Naripokkho, a woman’s group in Bangladesh. She did her doctoral work at the University of Sussex. In the 50th year celebration of Sussex University, Firdous Azim was awarded the US50 fellowship, which recognises her as one of the 50 notable alumni of Sussex University. She combines both literary and feminist concerns in her writings. Her books include The Colonial Rise of the Novel (Routledge, 1993), and she has co-edited Infinite Variety: Essays on Society and Literature (University Press Limited, 1998). She is a part of the Feminist Review and Inter-Asia Cultural Studies editorial board, and has edited special issues for both journals. She has been a jury member for the Prothom Alo (the leading daily newspaper in Bangladesh) best book award in 2005 as well as the Commonwealth Short Story Competition for Commonwealth Writers in 2016. She was also a member of the jury for the Himal South Asian short film festival. Her on-going research centres on women’s writings in the early twentieth century in Bengal, where she intends to draw out the connections between issues of modernity and nation-making and the place of women within those processes.
Surina Narula, Founder of the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature
Surina Narula has worked for over 25 years to change the plight of women and children. Her interests also lie in improving the environment and making corporations more responsible for it. She is deeply interested in the creative fields of art, theatre, dance and films and believes that literature plays an important role in understanding cultures. She is the President and co-founder of the Consortium for Street Children (CSC) - a network of over sixty five UK-based development agencies and has previously been its Co-Chair and Trustee. CSC has put street children and their rights at the UN level, increasing their visibility worldwide. She has always championed the cause of South Asian literature. She is the founder sponsor and festival advisor for the Jaipur Literature Festival and instituted the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature in 2010. As a leading international literary prize specifically focused on South Asia, over the last eight years the prize has been able to fulfill her vision to showcase and reward the immense talent writing about the South Asian region and bring it to a larger global audience. She has always been supportive of writing in South Asian languages as a result of which the DSC Prize is also open to novels written in regional languages which have been translated into English. In line with her South Asian focus, the DSC Prize is peripatetic in nature with the winner being announced in a different South Asian country each year.
Surina Narula is a patron for Plan India and she was on the Board of Directors for Plan International UK, and is a patron for Women and Children First. She is also a trustee of PHIA (Partnering Hope into Action). She is a trustee for Tve (Television for Environment) which makes films that inspire change and a founder of their Global Sustainability Awards given at BAFTA for the CSR of corporations and businesses. She is founder and CEO of Difficult Dialogues which is an annual forum examining issues of contemporary relevance in the South Asian region. This three-day forum is held in Goa every year and is designed to examine implementation of policy in India on a focused issue every year.
She is an advisor to Khoj, which is a charity that promotes contemporary cutting edge art in India. She is a patron of Akademi, which promotes contemporary Indian dance in the UK, and is a patron of the Independent Film Association of India. She has received various awards for her contribution to street children charities and in 2003 was highly commended for The Beacon Prize in recognition of her outstanding contribution to charitable and social causes. In recognition of her charity work, she was presented with the Asian of the Year Award in 2005. In June 2008, she was awarded an MBE for charitable work. Surina Narula holds an MBA from Ealing College, as well as a Master of Science in Social Anthropology from University College London.