Sri Lankan author Anuk Arudpragasam has won the prestigious DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2017 with his debut novel "The Story of a Brief Marriage."
The announcement was made at the closing ceremony of the three-day long Dhaka Literary Festival at Bangla Academy on Saturday.
The novel is based on story at a displaced people's camp during the civil war in Sri Lanka where the author narrates the plight of people caught in the violence during the war eight years back.
The opening sequence of the novel, which was read out by the author, describes how a young man carrying six-year-old, injured in a land mine explosion, to an open-air operation theater, found solace in telling the child that soon the doctor would arrive and commence the operation.
“...and in no time at all the arm would be as nicely healed as the already amputated thigh,” the author read out, who later announced of donating one-third of his $25,000 prize money to the affected people in Sri Lanka, Kashmir and the displaced Rohingyas in the recent violence.
“It feels a little insincere to celebrate this award because my novel is about something so tragic," he said.
The other shortlisted four novels were—Selection Day by Aravind Adiga, The Living by Anjali Joseph, The Association of Small Bombs by Karan Mahajan and In the Jungles of the Night by Stephen Alter.
Jury member Ritu Menon said the task of picking the victorious book was not easy, but was very pleasant nonetheless. She said all the books carried the distinct voice of South Asia while announcing the winner.
The DSC Prize for South Asian Literature recognizes and honours authors of any and all ethnicity and nationality; given the subject of their writing is South Asian culture, politics, history and people.