Arundhati Roy, Jeet Thayil, Tabish Khair in DSC Prize long list

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Arundhati Roy's The Ministry of Utmost Happiness. Manorama
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New Delhi: Works of popular authors like Arundhati Roy, Jeet Thayil, Tabish Khair, Mohsin Hamid and Kamila Shamsie are among 16 novels longlisted for the USD 25,000 DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2018.

The long list, announced here Wednesday, features books by six women authors and three women translators, and two debut novels. It has four translated works where the original writings were in Assamese, Kannada, Tamil and Hindi.

Among the books in the long list are: 'All The Lives We Never Lived' (Anuradha Roy); 'The Ministry Of Utmost Happiness' (Arundhati Roy); 'The Saga Of Satisar' (Chandrakanta, translated by Ranjana Kaul); 'Temporary People' (Deepak Unnikrishnan); 'No Presents Please' (Jayant Kaikini, translated by Tejaswini Niranjana) and 'The Book Of Chocolate Saints' (Jeet Thayil).

'Home Fire' by Kamila Shamsie; 'Miss Laila Armed And Dangerous' (Manu Joseph); 'Exit West' (Mohsin Hamid); 'A State Of Freedom' (Neel Mukherjee); 'Poonachi' (Perumal Murugan, translated by N Kalyan Raman); 'Leila' (Prayaag Akbar); 'Chinatown Days' (Written and translated by Rita Chowdhury); 'Marriage Of A Thousand Lies' (S J Sindu); 'Harilal & Sons' (Sujit Saraf) and 'Night Of Happiness' (Tabish Khair) complete the longlist.

The list was announced by historian-academic Rudrangshu Mukherjee, who is the chair of the jury panel. The other members of the jury are Nandana Sen, Claire Armitstead, Tissa Jayatilaka and Firdous Azim.

Mukherjee said it was an "exhilarating and exhausting exercise" for him and his fellow jurors reading 88 books and then preparing the list. "Writers were willing to experiment with form, with unusual themes and to express themselves with elegance," he said.

The jury will now deliberate on the long list over the next month and the shortlist of five or six books will be announced on November 14 at the London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) in London.

The winner would be announced at a special award ceremony to be hosted in a South Asian city in January or February.

"I find the long list exciting and feel that each of the novels is a must-read as they successfully bring out the nuances and challenges of the ever evolving South Asian life. It is heartening to note that this year's long list of 16 novels includes 4 translations which highlight the language diversity of the writing about this region," said Surina Narula, co-founder of the DSC Prize.

The announcement was preceded by a special panel discussion on translations in South Asian writing where noted translators Rakhshanda Jalil and Arunava Sinha were in conversation with academic Amrita Bhalla.

The DSC Prize specifically focuses on South Asian writing and is open to authors of any ethnicity or nationality as long as the writing is about South Asia and its people.

Past 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).

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