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Women, debut novelists dominate DSC Prize 2019 entries

twitter-logo PTI        Last Updated: September 1, 2019  | 14:21 IST

New Delhi, Sep 1 (PTI) With the longlist of the 2019 DSC Prize for South Asian literature set to be announced later this month, the presenters said an analysis of the entries shows emergence of debut novelists and strong presence of women authors. The USD prize, which is now in its ninth edition, has received a record number of 90 entries this year, they said. The submissions came in from 42 publishers across 55 imprints from Asia, Europe and North America, highlighting increasing diversity and global interest in South Asian writing. As the prize is specifically focused on South Asian fiction writing, its entries serve as a bellwether of the trends and developments taking place in the literary landscape of the region, the presenters said. Of the 90 novels received, 37 (or 41 per cent of the total entries) are penned by debut authors. Women authors continue to make their presence felt in this year's submission list with as many as 42 novels (or 47 per cent of the total entries) written by women, and an additional six women writers involved as translators. Forty per cent of these women authors are first time writers. More and more first time novelists are writing about this region as the tapestry of South Asian life offers them a rich canvas of emotions and issues which reinforces their own unique first-hand experiences, the presenters said. Commenting on the diversity of the entries received, Surina Narula, co-founder of the DSC Prize said, “The ninth year of the DSC Prize entries reflect the growing importance of South Asian literature in the global literary scene.” She said it is evident from the fact that more than a quarter of the participating publishers this year are based outside the region compared to the first year when there were very few entries from outside India. "There is also an immense diversity of themes relevant to South Asian life reflecting the changing dynamics and aspirations of its people. It is also very encouraging to see entries from many women and debut writers and translations," she added. The presenters said a total of 42 publishers from across the world sent in entries of which 30 per cent are based outside the South Asian region in countries like the UK, the US, Canada, and Singapore. This year, there have been several entries translated from Bengali, Tamil, Malayalam, Assamese, Kannada and Hindi which offer a glimpse into the South Asian life lesser known. The DSC Prize, instituted by Surina and Manhad Narula in 2010 and administered by the South Asian Literature Prize & Events Trust, follows a comprehensive process. The entries for 2019 are at present being read by a five-member international jury panel. The longlist will be announced on September 26 here and the shortlist on November 6 in London. The winner will be announced on December 16 at the Nepal literature festival in Pokhara. Since 2016, the winner is announced in different South Asian countries by rotation. In 2016, it was awarded at the Galle Literary Festival in Sri Lanka and in 2017, the prize was given to Anuk Arudpragasam at the Dhaka Lit Fest in Bangladesh. The 2018 prize was presented at the Tata Steel Kolkata Literary Meet in January. Kannada author Jayant Kaikini won the 2018 prize along with translator Tejaswini Niranjana for his work "No Presents Please". The previous winners are H M Naqvi (Pakistan), Shehan Karunatilaka (Sri Lanka), Jeet Thayil and Cyrus Mistry (both India), American author of Indian origin Jhumpa Lahiri, Anuradha Roy (India) and Anuk Arudpragasam (Sri Lanka). PTI ZMN RB RB

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