Anuradha Roy won the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2016 for her novel Sleeping on Jupiter at the Fairway Galle Literary Festival in Sri Lanka. Sri Lankan PM Ranil Wickremesinghe handed over the US $50,000 DSC Prize and a trophy to the winner on Friday evening.
The six shortlisted contenders for the DSC Prize this year were Akhil Sharma for Family Life (Faber & Faber, UK), Anuradha Roy for Sleeping on Jupiter (Hachette, India), K R Meera for Hangwoman (Translated by J Devika; Penguin, India), Mirza Waheed for The Book of Gold Leaves (Viking/Penguin India), Neel Mukherjee for The Lives of Others (Vintage/Penguin Random House, UK) and Raj Kamal Jha for She Will Build Him A City (Bloomsbury, India).
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Now in its sixth edition, the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature awards the best work in South Asian fiction writing. This year, the jury panel comprised journalist and writer Mark Tully, who was Chair of the jury; Dennis Walder, Emeritus Professor of Literature at Open University, UK; Karen Allman, a bookseller and literary coordinator from Seattle, US; Neloufer de Mel, Senior Professor of English at University of Colombo, Sri Lanka; and Syed Manzoorul Islam, celebrated Bangladeshi writer, translator and academic.
“We chose Sleeping on Jupiter by Anuradha Roy because of its elegance, flair and readability. It raises many issues succinctly and with commendable economy of words. The South Asian setting is described faithfully and evocatively. Among the issues raised are the power of memory and myth, religious hypocrisy, sexuality, abuse and other forms of violence. The novel contains powerful portraits of both major and minor characters. We believe this book will be a source of inspiration to other writers,” said Tully at the ceremony.
In her third novel after An Atlas of Impossible Longing and The Folded Earth, Roy writes an immersive, atmospheric tale of three friends — Vidya, Gauri and Latika — in their 60s now, who embark on a five-day trip to Jarmuli, a medieval temple town overlooking the Bay of Bengal.