The most anticipated longlist for the $25,000 DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2017 has been unveiled at the Oxford Bookstore in New Delhi, India.
Eminent feminist writer and publisher Ritu Menon, chair of the jury panel for the distinguished prize, announced the longlist on Thursday, according to a statement issued by the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature.
The longlist contains a diverse mix of established writers and debut novelists from diverse backgrounds and geographies is comprised of seven writers from India, three from Pakistan, two from Sri Lanka and one American writer currently based in India. It includes three debut novels and two translated entries, the original writings of which have been in Tamil and Malayalam.
Apart from South Asian authors, there are several examples of authors who are based outside the region and who incisively explored South Asian lifestyles and cultures from an outside perspective.
The DSC prize, which was created by Surina Narula and Manhad Narula in 2010, is one of the most prestigious international literary awards specifically focused on South Asian writing.
This year the DSC prize received over 60 eligible entries, and the five-member jury board diligently went through these entries to arrive at this year’s longlist of 13 novels which they feel represent the best works of fiction related to the South Asian region.
The announcement was preceded by readings by designer and theatre actor Oroon Das, who read from Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri that won the DSC Prize in 2015 and from Sleeping on Jupiter by Anuradha Roy that won the DSC Prize in 2016.
A large number of publishers, authors and literary enthusiasts graced the longlist unveiling event with their spontaneous presence.
Addressing the programme, Ritu Menon said: “…speaking for myself, it was a great pleasure to read this year’s submissions remarkable for their range, energy and generational sweep. As a jury, we were struck by several exceptional qualities in the novels selected: their inventiveness and creativity, both of subject matter and in literary treatment.
“We were beguiled by their wit and humour, as well as impressed by the versatility of their skill when dealing with history. And we were reminded that, although the writers’ preoccupations may be universal and their sensibility cosmopolitan, their voices are distinctly South Asian.”
Surina Narula, co-founder of the DSC Prize, said: “...I find the longlist particularly exciting as it includes some well-known authors as well as new novelists who are making a mark on the South Asian literary canvas. Given such a strong longlist, it will be interesting to see which books make it to the shortlist.”
DSC Prize award ceremony
The jury will now deliberate on the longlist over the next month, and the shortlist of five to six books for the DSC Prize 2017 will be announced on September 27 at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) in London.
Thereafter the jury will meet once again to arrive at the final winner that will be announced at a special award ceremony at Dhaka Literary Festival on November 18.