Jaipur: Thirty-seven-year-old Karachi-based novelist H.M. Naqvi Saturday
won the first DSC Prize for South Asian Literature for his debut
novel "Home Boy", a story about the ravaged lives of three young
Pakistani immigrants in US.
The prize carries a purse of $50,000 and a trophy.
The prize, instituted by the DSC Group - primary sponsor of the
DSC Jaipur Literature Festival - recognizes the best of South
Asian fiction and the voice of the Asian diaspora.
"Home Boy" was published in the sub-continent by Harper-Collins in
2010 and by Random House in the US.
Naqvi beat five contenders - Amit Chaudhuri ("The Immortals"),
M.A. Farooqui ("The Story of a Widow"), Tania James ("Atlas of
Unknowns"), Neel Mukherjee ("A Life Apart") and Manju Kapur ("The
The prize was awarded by Bollywood actor Kabir Bedi.
The jury, chaired by journalist and writer Nilanjana S. Roy,
comprised former Granta editor Ian Jack, British politician and
publisher Lord Matthew Evans and writers Amitava Kumar and Moni
Mohsin. Naqvi who read an excerpt from his book, said that "he
started working on 'Home Boy' in 2003".
"I worked from 6 a.m. to 3 a.m. to write 'Home Boy'. I would wake
up at 3 a.m., eat my breakfast at 4 a.m. and get down to writing.
It was hard work. There were times I would scrape the back of the
kitchen cupboard for some pasta to boil and at the end of the
month I was in overdraft. The novel was a culmination of a
journey," Naqvi said.
He said "'Home Boy' has all the flaws and strengths of a debut
Born in 1974, Naqvi, the eldest of the three siblings, began
writing at the age of six. He taught creative writing at Boston
University. He now divides his time between Pakistan and New York.
In a recent interview to IANS, Naqvi said that he was "working on
a new novel about Karachi - about history, mataphysics and sex".
Jury member Ian Jack said "the votes at the end of the final round
on Friday in Jaipur were split three in favour of the winner and