The final countdown to the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature has begun,with the original 16 contenders being pared down to six. Among these are Amit Chaudhuris The Immortals,in which he explores the world of musicians,Musharraf Ali Farooquis quiet and intimate The Story of a Widow and Tania James story about two sisters and their choices in Atlas Of Unknowns. Manju Kapurs The Immigrant,a moving analysis of a marriage between two immigrants in the US,Neel Mukherjees A Life Apart,which moves from modern day London to pre-Independence Bengal,and H M Naqvis Home Boy,a brash post 9/11 saga,too,are part of the shortlist that was announced a few days ago at Londons Globe Theatre.
The prize,worth $50,000 (Rs 23 lakh appoximately),has been introduced this year to reward writing about South Asia. While talking about the process of shortlisting,chairperson of the jury,Nilanjana S Roy recalled the experiences of the jury members. Moni Mohsin was taken,as we all were,by the rich variety of experiences that one gets from these novels; Ian Jack commented that the South Asian novel today has found its voice often multiple and very varied voices. For Lord Matthew Evans,reading the novels was a welcome reminder of how much things had changed from the era when Britain and America exported books to India and Pakistan. Amitava Kumar commented on how the South Asian novel may have some of the old tropes spices,and servants,and glossaries but had moved beyond these,with authors now writing departures from the familiar, Roy said.
The winner will be declared at the Jaipur Literature Festival in January.