Distinguished Kannada writer and Jnanpith awardee U.R. Ananthamurthy is among the six authors shortlisted for this year’s $50,000 DSC Prize for South Asian Literature.

He has been selected for his widely acclaimed novel Bharathipura (translated into English by Susheela Punitha), which reflects his lifelong preoccupation with transcending caste and class interests in modern society.

The Prize was instituted last year to recognise the best writing about the South Asian region.

Others on the shortlist are: Kavery Nambisan (The Story that Must Not Be Told’); Chandrakanta (A Street in Srinagar); Usha K.R. (Monkey-man); Tabish Khair (The Thing About Thugs); and Shehan Karunatilaka (Chinaman).

Announcing the shortlist at a glitzy function here on Tuesday at the end of a two-week-long DSC South Asian Literature Festival, Ira Pande, chairperson of the jury, regretted that “some of the terrific novels’’ had to be left out — “a cross that every jury has had to carry’’.

She said: “The task before the jury was not easy; the main hurdle was how to sift the clever and stylish from the real and true tale. All of us were united in feeling that a novel by any definition must have a strong tale to tell. While there will always be legitimate differences between jury members on individual choices, I think we were fortunate this year in arriving at a broad consensus on what we were looking for.’’

The winner will be announced at the DSC Jaipur Literature Festival on January 21, 2012.

Manhad Narula, Director, DSC Limited, sponsors of the prize, said the jury had a “challenging task in narrowing down the long list to the shortlist of the most deserving six’’. “These represent the finest works of fiction pertaining to the South Asian region,’’ he said.

Organisers described the prize as “a first-of-its-kind initiative’’ specifically focusing on 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 in a statement.

Last year, it was won by Pakistani author H.M. Naqvi for his debut novel Home Boy.

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