Six books, including River Of Smoke by Amitav Ghosh, Narcopolis by Jeet Thayil and The Wandering by Pakistan-based author Jamil Ahmad, have been shortlisted for the DSC South Asian Literature Prize 2013.
The list, announced in a gala at the Mayfair Hotel in London late last night, includes six writers — three Indians, two Pakistanis and one from Bangladesh — besides an American translator for the $50,000 prize. The finalist will be announced at the DSC Jaipur Literature Festival in January 2013.
The jury of poet K Satchidanandan, critic Muneeza Shamsie, Elliot Bay author reading programme founder Rick Simonson, Kathmandu Literary Jatra director Suvani Singh and Palestinian Festival of Literature co-founder Eleanor O'Keefe deliberated the list from a selection of 16 books.
Jury chair K Satchidanandan said: "There were 81 entries for the prize this year, from authors and translators across India, Australia, Britain, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, reflecting the importance of South Asia's rapidly expanding book market."
He said India was currently the world's third largest English book market (after the US and the UK). A British Broadcasting Corporation report forecast in May that it would become the largest market within the next 10 years.
The list reflects the thematic range and stylistic diversity of contemporary South Asian fiction. "The works cover a range of subjects from the strange destinies of tribal people in a world being fast urbanised; the conflicts and paradoxes of Muslim life with its various attitudes to religion; the strange destiny of Indian migrants; the sharp schisms; the tragic ironies of modern Asian societies; and city life in the subcontinent with its seldom exposed underbelly," Satchidanandan told the Indo-Asian News Service.