Works of seven Indian writers including Aravind Adiga, Perumal Murugan and K R Meera figure in the 13-book longlist for this year's USD 25,000 DSC Prize for South Asian Literature. Three Pakistani writers, two Sri Lankans and one American writer based in India also have their books in the longlist announced today. Besides Adiga's "Selection Day", Murugan's "Pyre" (translated by Aniruddhan Vasudevan) and Meera's "The Poison of Love" (translated by Ministhy S), the other Indians in the race are Anjali Joseph ("The Living"), Anosh Irani ("The Parcel"), Stephen Alter ("In the Jungles of the Night) and Hirsh Sawhney ("South Haven). The Pakistani authors in the list are Omar Shahid Hamid ("The Party Worker"), Sarvat Hasin ("This Wide Night") and Shahbano Bilgrami ("Those Children"). The remaining works in the list are by Sri Lankan authors Anuk Arudpragasam ("The Story of a Brief Marriage") and Ashok Ferrey ("The Ceaseless Chatter of Demons) and US writer Karan Mahajan's "The Association of Small Bombs". The longlist was announced by writer-publisher Ritu Menon, who is the chair of the jury panel. This year, the prize received more than 60 eligible entries which were read by the five-member international jury that also had Valentine Cunningham, Steven Bernstein, Yasmin Alibhai-Brown and Senath Walter Perera. The jury will now deliberate on the longlist over the next month and the shortlist of 5 or 6 books will be announced on September 27 at the London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) in London. Thereafter, the jury would meet once again to arrive at the final winner that would be announced at a special ceremony at the Dhaka Literary Festival on November 18. Menon said the jury members were struck by several exceptional qualities in the novels selected: their inventiveness and creativity, both of subject matter and in literary treatment. "We admired the maturity and humanity of the perspective they brought to bear on their characters, and the delicacy of their observations on difficult or troubled situations. "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," she said. Surina Narula, co-founder of the DSC Prize said, "Each of the novels on the longlist is a must read as they successfully bring out the nuances and challenges of the ever evolving South Asian life. 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.
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