Three debut novelists in DSC Prize for South Asian Literature shortlist

The shortlist of six novels for US $25,000 DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2019 was announced at an event at the London School of Economics & Political Science. The DSC Prize, which is now in its ninth year, is specifically focused on South Asian fiction writing.

The shortlist was formally announced by the chair of the jury panel Harish Trivedi. The shortlist includes four authors of Indian origin and one author each of Pakistani and Afghan origin. There are three debut novelists including two women writers, as well as a work of translation of a novel originally written in Bengali.

The six shortlisted novels contending for the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2019 are:

 Amitabha Bagchi: Half the Night is Gone

 Jamil Jan Kochai: 99 Nights in Logar

 Madhuri Vijay: The Far Field

 Manoranjan Byapari: There’s Gunpowder in the Air (translated from Bengali by Arunava Sinha)

 Raj Kamal Jha: The City and the Sea

 Sadia Abbas: The Empty Room

Speaking on the occasion, Harish Trivedi, Chair of the jury said: “The shortlist that we have arrived at comprises six novels – for the good reason that the five jurors, located in five different countries, could not agree on just five novels”.

He added, “What is it about writing novels that one can get it so right the very first time of asking? Three of our writers live in South Asia and three live abroad – which fact may not come as a complete surprise. There is now a South Asia beyond South Asia. Two of the six novels are set partly in New Delhi, and partly in the surrounding countryside in one case, and in the other case partly on the Baltic coast. One of the novels is set in Pakistan of the 1970s, one in Kashmir, and one in Afghanistan. The sixth is actually set in a prison and was written originally in Bengali by an author who has actually served time and used that period to learn to read and write. That too is South Asia.”

The final winner will be announced at an Award Ceremony on December 16 at the IME Nepal Literature Festival in Pokhara in Nepal.

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