Four Pakistani names are among the list of 16 authors whose books have been long-listed for the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature for the year 2013.
Jamil Ahmad, Musharraf Ali Farooqi, Mohammed Hanif and Roopa Farooki joined other authors from the region when the list was announced on Tuesday.
In last year’s nominations, no Pakistani author managed to enter the long list and the prize was eventually won by Sri Lanka’s Shehan Karunatilaka for his book “Chinaman: The legend of Pradeep Mathew.”
Mohammed Hanif’s “Our Lady of Alice Bhatti,” Musharraf Ali Farooqi’s “Between Clay and Dust,” Jamil Ahmad’s “The Wandering Falcon” and Roopa Farooki’s “The Flying Man” are the Pakistan entries.
The list comprises four debut novels and two translations from Hindi into English.
Other authors included in the list are from India, Australia, UK and Bangladesh. The prize is not ethnicity driven in terms of the author’s origin and is awarded for the best work of fiction based on South Asia, published in English, including translations into English, according to the committee.
There were 81 entries for the US $50,000 prize, from which the jury, comprising K Satchidanandan (Chair), Muneeza Shamsie, Rick Simonson, Suvani Singh and Eleanor O’Keeffe, long-listed 16.
Commenting on the long list, Satchidanandan, the jury’s chair said, “The values we were looking for in the works were many: novelty of theme, freshness of the narrative strategies used as well as the idiom, the contribution the work makes to the genre of the novel in general. And we found several works which had one or all of these qualities. They were charmingly diverse in their theme and treatment and well aware of the political, cultural and psychological dimensions of life in the societies and people they were dealing with, making our reading a rich, educative as well as aesthetic experience.
All jury members prepared their own long lists, which had many works in common. Where they differed, they arrived at a consensus through mutual consultation.
“The authors came from different linguistic and cultural backgrounds and showed alike a deep understanding of life in South Asia in all its beauty and turbulence-its conflicts and paradoxes, its bleeding wounds and its undying dreams,” Satchidanandan said.
The jury will deliberate on the long list over one month and the shortlist will be announced on November 20. The winner will be subsequently declared at the Jaipur Literature Festival in January 2013.