The longlist for the US $50,000 DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2016 was announced at the Oxford Bookstore last evening by journalist and author Mark Tully, also chair of the jury. It features authors based in South Asia, as well as those whose narratives explore South Asian life and culture from an outside perspective. Eleven novels have been selected: The Way Things Were by Aatish Taseer, Family Life by Akhil Sharma, Odysseus Abroad by Amit Chaudhuri, Sleeping on Jupiter by Anuradha Roy, Hangwoman by KR Meera, A Little Dust on the Eyes by Minoli Salgado, The Book of Gold Leaves by Mirza Waheed, The Girl in the Road by Monica Byrne, The Lives of Others by Neel Mukherjee, She Will Build Him a City by Raj Kamal Jha, and Don’t Let Him Know by Sandip Roy. The 2015 edition of the prize was won by Jhumpa Lahiri for The Lowland.
“I am particularly happy that there are novels from the small states of North East India — states which do not get adequate attention from the rest of the country. The DSC Prize includes translated novels written in South Asian languages. This is most important for the fulfilment of the prize’s ambition to show the best of South Asian writing to the world,” said Tully, who is joined on the jury panel by Dennis Walder, Emeritus Professor of Literature, Open University, UK, Karen Allman, bookseller and literary coordinator from Seattle, USA, Neloufer de Mel, English professor at the University of Colombo, Sri Lanka and Syed Manzoorul Islam, celebrated Bangladeshi writer, translator, critic and academic. The shortlist will be announced next month at the London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) in London.
Since its inception, the DSC prize has been associated with the Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF). However, in January, HS Narula, who runs the DSC Group, and with his wife Surina, is the sponsor of what is the second-most generous literary prize after the Man Booker (50,000 British pounds), announced that it would no longer be associated with JLF. In January 2017, the winner will be declared at the Galle Literary Festival in Sri Lanka.