New Delhi: A total of
16 South Asian fiction writers including Jamil Ahmad, Jerry Pinto,
Amitav Ghosh and Musharraf Ali Farooqi are in the race for the
prestigious DSC Prize for South Asian literature reflecting the
diversity and social complexities that set Asian narratives apart
from the rest of the world.
The long list for the prize announced in the capital Tuesday
feature a mix of best-sellers and emerging talent.
The list includes Jamil Ahmad's "The Wandering Falcon", Alice
Albina's "Leela's Book", Tahmina Anam's "The Good Muslim", Rahul
Bhattacharya's "The Sly Company of People Who Care", Roopa
Farooki's "The Flying Man", Musharraf Ali Farooqi's "Between Clay
and Dust" and Amitav Ghosh's "River of Smoke".
Other contenders are Niven Govinden's "Black Bread White Beer",
Sunetra Gupta's "So Good in Black"; Mohammed Hanif's "Our Lady of
Alice Bhatti"; Jerry Pinto's "Em and the Big Hoom"; Uday Prakash's
"The Walls of Delhi"; Anuradha Roy's "The Folded Earth", Saswati
Sengupta's "The Song Seekers", Geetanjali Shree's "The Empty
Space" and Jeet Thayil's "Narcopolis".
The longlist was chosen from 81 entries for the $50,000 prize from
writers around the globe by a four-member jury of K.
Satchidanandan (chair), Muneeza Shamsie, Rick Simonson, Suvani
Singh and Eleanor O'Keefe.
The jury will deliberate, for a month, on the shortlist that will
be announced Nov 20 at the Mayfair Hotel in London. The winner
will be declared at the DSC Jaipur Literature Festival January
"The values were looking for in the works were many; novelty of
the theme, freshness of narrative strategies used as well as the
idiom and the contribution the work makes to the makes to the
genre in general," Satchidanandan said.
Writer and publisher Namita Gokhale, who was on the panel for
discussion on the longlisted novels, said: "The staggering variety
of South Asian voices was wonderful".
"There is so much magic realism in our daily lives and so many
stories to tell," Gokhale told IANS.
The list did not surprise Udayan Mitra, publisher of Allen Lane
and Portfolio imprints of Penguin Books India.
"Most of the books on the list were well-received and
well-reviewed. It is quality. This has been a year that has seen
really strong books," Mitra said.
The publisher, who handles non-fiction, said "one way of
describing the publishing trends in the country was to say India
was becoming a publishing hub".
"Another way of putting it is to say that our readership is
exploding at all levels. In the mass market categories, we are
seeing numbers we couldn't dream of. We are reaching readers who
were traditionally not readers- the first generation readers. This
doesn't reflect in literary fictions. It will take time to reach
there," Mitra told IANS.
Manhad Narula of the DSC Group said "he was excited by the fact
that prize was helping South Asian fictions commercially to reach
The prize set up in 2011 has been won by Pakistani writer H.M.
Naqvi ("Home Boy") and Shehan Karunatilaka ("Chinaman: The Legend
of Pradeep Mathew").