New Delhi: Five
contemporary English fiction titles from India - Misi Saran's "The
Other Side of Light", Jeet Thayil's "Narcopolis", "Em and the Big
Hoom" by Jerry Pinto, "The Wildlings" by Nilanjana Roy and "God on
Every Wind" by Farhad Sorabjee - have been nominated for the
Commonwealth Writers' Prize 2013.
Twenty-one titles are in the race for the Commonwealth Prize, the
highest honour for literature in English from Commonwealth
countries, a statement said Friday. The prize inspires writers,
story-tellers and a range of cultural practitioners to make an
impact on the society with their literature and engage with the
audience for change.
The prize builds on communities of emerging voices to influence
their lives directly and indirectly. The five regional winners and
the overall winner will be announced May 14 at the Hay Festival in
London. The winner will receive a cash purse of 10,000 GBP pounds
the regional winners 2,500 pounds.
The winners will be judged by a panel of members of the
international literary community represented by Godfrey Smith,
Goretti Kyomuhendo, Manu Joseph, Linda Leith, Esther Phillips and
The list of regional finalists are first-time novelists who
address issues typical to the Commonwealth nations like
immigration, colonial history, post-colonialism, politics,
relationships and transformation.
The nominees include Sarah House by Ifeanyi Ajaegho (Nigeria),
Disposable People by Ezekel Alan (Jamaica), Floundering by Romy
Ash (Australia), "Running the Rift" by Naomi Benaron (Canada),
Mazin Grace by Dylan Coleman (Australia), "A Tiger in Eden" by
Chris Flynn (Australia), "The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry,
Rachel Joyce (UK), "The Headmaster's Wager by Vicent Lam (Canada),
Island of a Thousand Mirrors, Nayomi Munaweera (Sri Lanka), "he
Death of Bees" by Lisa O'Donnell (United Kingdom), "The Spider
King's Daughter" by Chibundu Onuzo (Nigeria), "The Great Agony &
Pure Laughter of the Gods" by Jamala Safari (South Africa), "The
Last Thread" by Michael Sala (Australia), "Sterile Sky by E.E.
Sule (Nigeria)", "Beneath the Darkening Sky" by Majok Tulba
(Australia) and "The Bellwether Revivals" by Benjamin Wood (UK).
The Indian books nominated for the prize are debut novels that
explore the layered life of South Asia and the forces that have
driven its pace in the post-colonial age with their pulse on the
country's changing economics, society and the early years of
globalisation of the Commonwealth.
"The Other Side of Life" is the tale of one woman, two lovers,
three best friends and the gift of an old camera that spurs Asha
to leave her family and boyfriend Kabir to spend a year in a Swiss
village. Poet-writer Jeet Thayil's "Narcopolis" is a personal
journey of the writer through the low life of Mumbai in the dope
dens of Mumbai in the 1970s while "Em and the Big Hoom" takes a
broad look at the Goan immigrants in Mumbai with the romance of Em
and Big Hoom, which writer Jerry Pinto describes as a "shade
"The Wildlings" by Nilanjana Roy is a novel set in Nizamuddin, an
old Delhi neighbourhood. It builds in a world of a herd of stray
telepathic cats , a housebound kitten named Mara and huge battle
that ensues when the behaviour code is broken.
Farhad Soranjee's "God on Every Wind" is the family saga of an old
Goan brood of Portuguese origin in the family home of Casa de