Three Indian writers-- Amitav Ghosh, Jeet Thayil and Uday Prakash - are among the six authors shortlisted for this year’s $50,000 DSC Prize for South Asian Literature announced in London on Wednesday.
They are pitted against Pakistani novelists, Mohammed Hanif and Jamil Ahmad and Bangladesh’s Tahmina Anam. The only contender from outside the Indian subcontinent is Jason Grunebaum, an American academic, writer and translator.
Mr. Ghosh has been selected for River of Smoke; Mr. Thayil for his debut novel Narcopolis; and Mr. Prakash for The Walls of Delhi, a collection of short stories in Hindi translated into English by Mr. Grunebaum.
Announcing the list, the noted litterateur K. Satchidanandan, who chaired the jury, said it represented the diversity of South Asian fiction. He pointed out that choosing the six best from a longlist of 16 "outstanding" works was not easy but, in the end, the choice was unanimous.
"The six shortlisted books from different countries represent the diversity of South Asian fiction in terms of theme as well as idiom. We were looking for works which are thematically fresh, stylistically innovative and are a definitive contribution to novel as a genre. The choice was not easy as we had sixteen outstanding works to choose from but we were unanimous in our final choice,” he said.
Manhad Narula, a member of the Prize Steering Committee, described it as "an excellent and well balanced shortlist" representing "the finest writing pertaining to the South Asian region".
The prize, introduced in 2010, was described by its sponsors as the first initiative of its kind to promote the best work of English language fiction on a South Asian theme, irrespective of the author’s ethnicity.
"It is a celebration of the rich and varied world of literature belonging to the South Asian region," said a spokesperson.
The winner will be announced at the DSC Jaipur Literature Festival on January 25, 2013.