The US $25,000 DSC Prize for South Asian Literature, which is now in its ninth year, announced its longlist on Friday. The longlist of 15 novels, which represent the best in South Asian fiction writing, was unveiled by the chair of the jury panel Harish Trivedi at a special event at the Oxford Bookstore in New Delhi.
This year’s international jury panel includes Harish Trivedi, (Jury Chair) former Professor of English at the University of Delhi who has written extensively on colonial and post colonial literature, Jeremy Tambling, former Professor of Literature at the University of Manchester with an interest in present and past literatures, in critical theory, and in film, Kunda Dixit, editor of the Nepali Times newspaper in Kathmandu, and author of several books on the South Asian region, climate change and technology, Carmen Wickramagamage, Professor of English at the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka, whose work has focused on feminism, postcolonial theory, and ‘Third World’ women writers, and Rifat Munim, a bilingual writer, essayist, and translator, and the literary editor of Dhaka Tribune in Bangladesh, with special interest in South Asian English writing.
The list comprises 7 women authors, 3 translated works from Malayalam, Tamil and Bengali, and 7 debut novelists, which highlights the growing diversity and the power of new writing in the South Asian literary landscape. The increasing globalisation of South Asian writing is brought alive by the fact that quite a few of the longlisted authors are based outside the region, including an American writer without any South Asian ethnic roots, and they have all written with the same in-depth perspective and understanding of South Asian life and culture as their counterparts based in the region.
A wide spectrum of South Asian themes across geographies is visible in the longlist which includes writers of Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Afghan and Sri Lankan origin. The selection of the longlist was enthusiastically welcomed by publishers, authors and the literary personalities who attended the event. The DSC Prize, administered by the South Asian Literature Prize & Events Trust, received a record 90 eligible entries this year from 42 publishers and 55 imprints from across the globe. The five-member international jury panel diligently adjudicated on these to select a longlist of 15 novels.
The jury will now further evaluate the longlisted entries over the next month and the shortlist of 5 or 6 books for the DSC Prize 2019 will be announced on 6th November, 2019 at the London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) in London. Thereafter the jury would meet to arrive at the final winner that would be announced at a special Award Ceremony on 16th December, 2019 at the IME Nepal Literature Festival in Pokhara in Nepal.
The longlist announcement event commenced with a keynote address made by the eminent feminist publisher and writer Ritu Menon who spoke about ‘Women in South Asian Writing’ and how women writers and translators are playing a key role in the South Asian literary landscape. Several important and relevant issues related to writing about the South Asian region were highlighted which kept the audience captivated.
The longlisted entries contending for the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2019 are: