The DSC Prize for South Asian Literature, now in its ninth year, announced its longlist today. Sifting through 90 entries, the jury selected 15 books. Each of these books, many of which were debut novels, represents the best of South Asian literature.
The list consists of three translated works from Malayalam, Tamil and Bengali, seven women authors and seven debut novelists. An interesting takeaway was that there was a sharp divorce between the native place of the author and the place they wrote about. The event took place at the Oxford Bookstore in New Delhi.
The list consisted of 99 Nights in Logar by Jamil Jan Kochai, The Far Field by Madhuri Vijay, There’s Gunpowder in the Air by Manoranjan Byapari (Translated by Arunava Sinha), Tell Her Everything by Mirza Waheed, In the Time of the Others by Nadeem Zaman, A Lonely Harvest by Perumal Murugan, The City and the Sea by Rajkamal Jha, The Empty Room by Sadia Abbas, Latitudes of Longing by Shubhangi Swarup, Sugandhi alias Andal Devanayak by TD Ramakrishnan (Translated by Priya K Nair), Mother India by Tova Reich, Half the Night is Gone by Amitav Bagchi, The Runaways by Fatima Bhutto, Half Gods by Akil Kumarasamy and The Atlas of Reds and Blues by Devi S Laskar.
“We read 90 novels at the average rate of one a day — an exhilarating, enlightening and humbling experience. Some of the novels we read narrated the nation. Some others explored individual subjectivities and yet aligned them to a broader social and political reality. Some grabbed us by the throat not so much for what they were saying but for how they said it. Many were set in multiple time-spans and international locationsm” Harish Trivedi, chair of the jury said.
“The five of us jurors, located in five different countries, have eventually arrived at this long list of 15, which is diverse and inclusive both intrinsically and by design. Thus, we have here seven women, three works of translation, writers of Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Afghan and Sri Lankan origin, and, for good measure, one American writer with no ethnic connection to South Asia whatsoever. Apparently, South Asia is to be found all over the globe and comes in all colours and complexions,” Harish Trivedi further said.
The winner of the DSC Prize 2019 will be announced at the IME Nepal Literature Festival in Nepal.