Writer and academic Amit Chaudhuri’s new novel The Immortals is among the six books shortlisted for a new major $50,000 literary prize -- the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature -- announced here at the end of a ten-day festival of south Asian writing.

Also on the list are two Pakistani novelists Musharraf Ali Farooqui (The Story of a Widow) andH. M Naqvi (Home Boy).

Others include Manju Kapur (The Immigrant), Neel Mukherjee (A Life Apart), and US-based Tania James (Atlas Of Unknowns).

The winner will be announced at the DSC Jaipur Literature Festival in January.

Nilanjana S. Roy, who chaired the five-member jury that included British writer and critic Ian Jack, said the judges were looking for the best and most interesting examples of contemporary south Asian writing.

"As we finalised our shortlist, the criteria that was uppermost in our minds was DSC's mandate to look for the best and the most interesting examples of the contemporary novel set in, or about, South Asia. In different ways, as we argued the merits of the final six contenders, all of us rediscovered the pleasures of reading -- a pleasure that we hope will be shared by all readers, wherever they come from,’’ she said.

Mr Manhad Narula, Director, DSC Limited, sponsors of the Prize, said: “Shortlisting six books from (a longlist of )16 can never be an easy task especially if all 16 authors are powerhouses of literary talent. The jury for the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature must be applauded for executing this responsibility and narrowing the nominations to the most deserving six.’’

In a statement, the sponsors described the prize as a “first-of-its-kind initiative’’ to highlight the richness and diversity of South Asian writing. “The prize is also unique since it is not ethnicity driven in terms of the author's origin and is open to any author belonging to any part of the globe as long as the work is based on the South Asian region and its people,’’ they said.