At a special event held in London, the chair of the jury panel for the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature announced the six shortlisted titles for this year’s prize. The selection is made from the 16 books that were longlisted earlier in the year.
Four out of six are books from authors of Indian origin, and one each from Pakistan and Afghanistan. Three of them are debut works. Two of the shortlisted authors are women. One book is a work of translation from Bengali.
DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2019 shortlist
The selected books, in no particular order, are:
Half the Night is Gone by Amitabha Bagchi
A spellbound novel, “Half the Night is Gone” raises questions related to literature, religion, and society. It was also shortlisted for the JCB Prize for Literature last year.
99 Nights in Logar by Jamil Jan Kochai
“99 Nights in Logar” is a coming-of-age story about a boy who takes embarks on a journey across contemporary Afghanistan to find and bring back his family dog. As the name suggests, the quest continues for ninety-nine nights.
The Far Field by Madhuri Vijay
“The Far Field” critically examines the Indian politics and the class prejudices prevalent in the country. It is about a woman who sets out on a journey to find her late mother’s long lost friend. This could be the book’s second win this year, since it has already won the JCB Prize for Literature.
There’s Gunpowder in the Air by Manoranjan Byapari
“There’s Gunpowder in the Air” is originally written in Bengali, and is translated to English by Arunava Sinha. It is set in the late 1960s West Bengal during the Naxalbari Movement. The book reflects on how the human ideals falter when pitched against deprivation and isolation.
The City and the Sea by Raj Kamal Jha
“The City and the Sea” can be considered as a subtle re-imagining of the 2012 Nirbhaya tragedy. It depicts how situations take the better of people, and makes them do things they otherwise wouldn’t do.
The Empty Room by Sadia Abbas
“The Empty Room” depicts the life of a woman in Karachi, Pakistan in the 1970s. It also points out the dilemmas faced by women who try to carve a creative path under unfriendly conditions.
What about the winner of DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2019?
The winner will be declared at IME Nepal Literature Festival to be held in Nepal sometime next month.