British Indian writer Rana Dasgupta and Pakistan's Daniyal Mueenuddin have been shortlisted for the 2010 Commonwealth Writers' Prize to be announced in New Delhi next month.

Mr. Dasgupta's Solo and Mr. Mueenuddin's In other Rooms, Other Wonders were adjudged the Best Book and the Best First Book respectively from among the entries from Europe and South Asia.

They will now go head to head into the final round with regional winners from Africa, the Caribbean, Canada South-East Asia and the Pacific.

Finally, two books — the Best Book of the year and the Best First Book of the year — will be chosen from among the finalists from different regions.

The 24-year-old prize, a joint venture of the Commonwealth Foundation and the philanthropist Macquarie Group Foundation, has over the years become one of the most prestigious literary prizes for Commonwealth writers.

Mark Collins, Director of the Commonwealth Foundation, described the quality of entries this year as “absolutely outstanding.” The competition in the final round would be “fierce.”

“I would like to congratulate Rana Dasgupta and Daniyal Mueenuddin in getting through to the final stage and I look forward to welcoming them to India. Once again, the Prize is identifying the best of Commonwealth fiction written in English and in doing so, spotting rising talent and creating new literary heroes from the Commonwealth.”

David Clarke, Chairman of the Macquarie Group Foundation, said, the prize was “unique in giving a voice to authors who throw light on evolving social realities.”

Muneeza Shamsie, chair of the regional jury, said the judges were impressed by the quality of the submissions.

“Remarkable”

Mr Dasgupta's novel, which revolves around a blind, 100 year-old Bulgarian, was “remarkable for its innovation, ambition and courage as well as its elegant prose,” she said, while Mr. Mueenuddin's book impressed with “its clear, exact prose and its wide scope, ranging from rural Pakistan to Paris.”