Author Amitabha Bagchi has won this year’s DSC Prize for South Asian Literature, for his novel Half the Night is Gone.
The prestigious DSC Prize is worth US $25,000. It defines ‘South Asia’ as Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
A major part of Bagchi’s third novel, Half The Night Is Gone, is based in the old-forgotten world of scheming zamindars, dubious morals and a man lamenting lost opportunities. Bagchi’s attention to detail ensures the readers are transported to that time, smelling the grime and listening to the creaking sound made by rusted doors.
He was announced the winner Monday at the IME Nepal Literature Festival in Nepal. Bagchi was handed over the prize by Nepal’s Foreign Minister Pradeep Gyawali. This year’s international jury panel was headed by Harish Trivedi, and had Jeremy Tambling, Kunda Dixit, Carmen Wickramagamage and Rifat Munim as its other members.
The moment we have been waiting for is here. Jury Chair Harish Trivedi announces Amitabha Bagchi as the winner of the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2019 for his novel “Half the Night is Gone” #DSCPrize2019 #IMENepalLitFest @Nepallitfest pic.twitter.com/TKE5KzX6EV
— The DSC Prize (@thedscprize) December 16, 2019
Now in its ninth edition, the award received 90 entries. The submissions came from 22 publishers, pointing to an increased interest and variety in South Asian writing. The entries served as a timely marker of the trends in South Asian fiction writing.
Six books were shortlisted — apart from Bagchi’s, these included The Far Field by Madhuri Vijay, which also won the JCB Prize for Literature; The City and the Sea by Raj Kamal Jha; There’s Gunpowder in the Air by Manoranjan Byapari (Translated by Arunava Sinha); The Empty Room by Sadia Abbas and 99 Nights in Logar by Jamil Jan Kochi.
— The DSC Prize (@thedscprize) November 6, 2019
One of the major takeaways from the awards this year was the fact that among the 90 entries received, 37 were by first-time authors. At the same time, there was also a significant presence of women writers, with 42 novels penned by them and six women involved as translators.