DSC Prize at Nepal Literature Festival: And the nominees are...

Now in its ninth year, the DSC Prize will announce its winner at the Nepal Literature Festival in Pokhara this year. Keeping in line with its South Asian focus, it travels to a different South Asian country each year to announce the winner and celebrate literary achievements of the region. Having announced its last three winners in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and India, this year the award ceremony will be held in Pokhara on December 16.

An international jury panel comprising of Harish Trivedi, Carmen Wickramagamage, Jeremy Tambling, Kunda Dixit and Rifat Munim, read and evaluated the entries and announced a longlist of 12-15 books. They will further shortlist five to six books next month in London.

Speaking about the longlist, author Harish Trivedi shares, “We did not frame any special explicit criteria beyond those that any educated person brings to the reading of fiction: keen observation by the novelist of ordinary or extraordinary situations, acute psychological insights into human nature, and distinction of narrative form. While most of the slots filled themselves through lively emails that flew among the five jurors based in five different countries, we then remembered to be diverse and inclusive and found that we had already been so in most respects.”

What compelled the jury to narrow down on these entries? “The large proportion of women novelists and debutantes, three works in translation with one each from Bengali, Malayalam and Tamil, writers from four different countries of South Asia including several now living in the West, as well as the inclusion of a Western writer who has no ethnic connection at all with South Asia but has set her novel in the region,” he adds.

The previous winners of the DSC Prize were No Presents Please by Jayant Kaikini, translated from Kannada to English by Tejaswini Niranjana (in 2018), The Story of a Brief Marriage by Anuk Arudpragasam (in 2017) and Sleeping on Jupiter by Anuradha Roy (in 2016).

Speaking to FPJ, this year’s nominee, Devi S. Laskar (The Atlas of Reds and Blues) said, “I’m deeply honoured to see The Atlas Of Reds And Blues on this stellar list with so many writers whose work I admire. I had no expectation so this announcement came as a wonderful surprise. There are so many books published every year and it is impossible to read them all. The DSC Prize long-list not only gives readers a curated reading list to choose from, but more importantly, gives readers and writers alike a space to engage with diversity. It is a thrilling moment as a reader to see your own life experiences reflected in literature. It is thrilling as a writer to see diverse readers engage with your work!”