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The colours of South Asia
Updated:Sep 23, 2011
 
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The announcement of the Longlist of 16 titles for the 2012 edition of the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature wouldn’t have been complete without an interaction on The Discussion of Identity: South Asian Fiction in Perspective, which preceded the announcement.

The discussion brought authors like Tarun Tejpal, Namita Gokhale and Sanjoy Roy on the floor sharing their observations on South Asian Literature, translations of literary works, and the hype around writing. “There’s too much of sexiness and hype around writing, we need to understand that writing is a brutal business,” Tejpal said to hint on the serious work that writing is — of tearing the innards of a system. The insightful talk led to exploring the uniqueness of Indian writing in English. “The English language has the virtues of underestimation, irony and cool. And India is dramatic and overflowing. How do I render an Indian story in a language that is not meant for it?” expressed Tejpal while Gokhale emphasised on how the world literary map is changing with Spanish, Chinese and other writers telling their stories.

After the discussion the much awaited list was revealed by Ira Pande, chairperson of the jury, Manhad Narula, founder of the Prize and Surina Narula Festival advisor. Ira said, “The Longlist of the 2012 DSC Prize is an interesting mix of 16 titles chosen after a careful consideration of various styles, languages and subject matter. To my mind, it reflects the best of the South Asian literary tradition: a wide landscape of rural and urban life, intricate rituals of story-telling and an indication of its evolving form. This is the East, seen as it is by some of the most promising novelists of Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and India, and as it appears to those who live elsewhere.” The process of selecting 16 books from more than 50 brought to the jury members — Dr Alastair Niven, Dr Fakrul Alam, Faiza S Khan, Ira Pande and Marie Brenner — the responsibility of reading in the bathroom, between meals, in the cars and maybe burn the midnight oil for the period of three months. But work has been done despite the paucity of time the 16 books selected are Omair Ahmad’s Jimmy The Terrorist, UR Ananthamurthy’s Bharatipura; Chandrakanta’s A Street in Srinagar translated by Manisha Chaudhry; Siddharth Chowdhury’s Day Scholar; Kishwer Desai’s Witness The Night; Namita Devidayal’s Aftertaste; Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni’s One Amazing Thing; Manu Joseph’s Serious Men; Usha KR’s Monkey-man; Shehan Karunatilaka’s Chinaman; Tabish Khair’s The Thing About Thugs; Jill Mc Givering’s The Last Kestrel; Kavery Nambisan’s The Story That Must Not Be Told; Atiq Rahimi’s The Patience Stone; Kalpish Ratna’s The Quarantine Papers; Samrat Upadhyay’s Buddha’s Orphan.

The success of the Jaipur Literature Festival is growing year after year, Manhad shared the secret, “That’s because it’s democratic, one can be sitting with the Booker Prize winner next to him, there’s no hassle of entry fee, no barriers, and no celebrity culture. The great part about the festival is that the writer can be from any part of the country and win as long as his story is woven around South Asia... Even a Russian can be shortlisted if his work is a rendition on South Asia. And in case the translated book takes the award 50 per cent of the award money will be shared by the translator with the writer.”

Talking of success of the Festival, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that life changes even for the winner of the award. HM Naqvi who won the inaugural DSC Prize in 2011 is going to have his book Home Boy published in the British Commonwealth apart from the existing edition. The story of presenting Asian writers to global audience is quite a page turner... so keep reading.

(Courtesy- The pioneer)

 
 
 
 
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