DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2019 longlist announced

15 books will compete for the coveted prize

DSC Prize for South Asian Literature

The DSC Prize committee has announced the longlist for this year’s prize. Jury Chair Mr Harish Trivedi made the announcement at an event held at Oxford Bookstore, New Delhi. The nomination consists of 15 books written either by authors belonging to the South Asian region by birth or by authors of any ethnicity as long as their work relates to the aforesaid region. There were a total of 90 submissions this year.

For the uninitiated, the DSC Prize entitles the winner a sum of $25,000 along with the imminent fame and increased readership for their works.

DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2019 longlist

The selected books, in no particular order, are:

Half Gods by Akil Kumarasamy

A debut work, “Half Gods” is a collection of ten fiercely heartbreaking interlinked stories. It reveals how the members of a family unknowingly act as mirrors to one another, thereby revealing the underlying hopes, sorrows, and weaknesses.

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, but had lost to Benyamin’s “Jasmine Days”. Good luck to the author this time.

The Atlas of Reds and Blues by Devi S. Laskar

“The Atlas of Reds and Blues” is a debut novel that explores the challenges faced by second-generation immigrants in modern day America. It was also finalized for the Clara Johnson Award for Women’s Literature this year, but lost to “An American Marriage” by Tayari Jones.

The Runaways by Fatima Bhutto

“The Runaways” comes with the tagline ‘How far would you run to escape your life?’ The story revolves around three different people from varying lifestyles who run away from their respective homes to join the Islamic State.

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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.

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.

Tell Her Everything by Mirza Waheed

“Tell Her Everything” is a heartbreaking novel involving human ethics and how one complies when it comes to their family’s survival.

In the Time of the Others by Nadeem Zaman

“In the Time of the Others” is set against the backdrop of the 1971 war which resulted in the liberation of East Pakistan to what we today know as Bangladesh. It is a fierce story about what it means to survive in the face of violence.

A Lonely Harvest by Perumal Murugan

“A Lonely Harvest” is one of the two sequels to “One Part Woman”. It is originally written in Tamil, and is translated to English by Aniruddhan Vasudevan.

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.

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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.

Latitudes of Longing by Shubhangi Swarup

“Latitudes of Longing” is a debut novel rich in imagination. It covers vivid geographical locations, and various life-forms known to man. It was also shortlisted for the JCB Prize for Literature along with Bagchi’s “Half the Night is Gone”.

Sugandhi Alias Andal Devanayaki by T. D. Ramakrishnan

“Sugandhi Alias Andal Devanayaki” is originally written in Malayalam, and is translated to English by Priya K. Nair. The book tries to analyze the civil war between Sri Lanka and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.

Mother India by Tova Reich

“Mother India” is a novel about Jews who visit India to find release from their sufferings. The narrator is a Jewish American lesbian.

What about the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2019 shortlist?

The shortlist will be announced in November later this year. A total of 5 or 6 books will be shortlisted from the above longlist. Any guesses which of the above will make the shortlist?

And the winner of the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2019?

The winner will be declared at IME Nepal Literature Festival to be held in Nepal in December 2019.


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