Indian authors Neel Mukherjee, Sujit Saraf, Jayant Kaikini and Manu Joseph and writers of Pakistani origin Kamila Shamsie and Mohsin Hamid will vie for this year's USD 25,000 DSC Prize for South Asian Literature.
The shortlist was announced at the London School of Economics & Political Science Wednesday evening by Rudrangshu Mukherjee, chair of the DSC Prize 2018 jury panel.
The works of Arundhati Roy, Jeet Thayil, Perumal Murugan and Tabish Khair among others which were in the longlist failed to make the cut.
According to the jury, which also included Claire Armitstead, Nandana Sen, Firdous Azim and Tissa Jayatilaka, the six novels poignantly bring alive a wide spectrum of themes and emotions that are so relevant in contemporary South Asian life.
The shortlisted books are: Kaikini's "No Presents Please" in Kannada (translated by Tejaswini Niranjana); Shamsie's "Home Fire"; "Miss Laila Armed And Dangerous" (Manu Joseph); "Exit West" (Mohsin Hamid); Mukherjee's "A State Of Freedom" and "Harilal & Sons" (Saraf).
Rudrangshu Mukherjee said evaluating these books reminded him once again of the importance of reading in human lives.
The prize received close to a quarter of the submissions from publishers based beyond South Asia and from countries such as the UK, the US, Canada and Australia.
According to the organisers, the shortlisted entrants reflect this global interest, and include Shamsie and Mukherjee who are both based in the UK. Hamid is based between Pakistan, the UK and the US, while Saraf is based in the US.
The winner will be announced at the Tata Steel Kolkata Literary Meet which would take place in Kolkata from January 22-27, 2019.
This year, the prize received 88 entries which included stunning portrayals of migration, war and the pain of displacement, poignant love stories, the exploration of new found relationships and identities, and vivification of the personal struggles, hopes and aspirations that symbolise the urgent and divisive realities of contemporary South Asian life.
Commenting on the shortlist, Surina Narula, co-founder of the DSC Prize said, "It represents the very best of South Asian fiction writing, and the depth, creativity and unique narrative of each of these novels is indeed both impressive and inspirational."
Past winners are H M Naqvi (Pakistan), Shehan Karunatilaka (Sri Lanka), Jeet Thayil and Cyrus Mistry (both India), American author of Indian origin Jhumpa Lahiri, Anuradha Roy (India) and Anuk Arudpragasam (Sri Lanka).
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