Three Indian writers have been selected to compete for the Man Asia Literary Prize along with 12 other Asian authors. Since its inception in 2007, the prestigious literary prize annually rewards the best novel written by an Asian author. When the longlist was displayed on Tuesday, Professor David Parker, the executive director of the Asian Literary Prize, said that it “testifies to the strength and variety of new writing coming out of a culturally emergent Asia. It is bringing to international attention some best-selling and important writers who are little known outside their own language communities.”
The longlist features Anjali Joseph’s Another Country and Jeet Thayil’s début novel Narcopolis. The latter, which draws on Thayil’s experience as a drug addict, has also been shortlisted for the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature (2013) and the 2012 Man Booker Prize.
Another country is Joseph’s second novel. Her first book Saraswati Park received multiple awards. In this autobiographical work, she tells the story of Leela, a young girl in her twenties, as she meanders through Paris, London and Bombay.
Malayalam author Benyamin is the third Indian name on the list. His novel Goat Days received the Kerala Literary Academy Award in 2009 before it was translated into English. It depicts in a “strange and bitter comedy” the life of Najib Muhammad, an Indian emigrant who went missing in Saudi Arabia. His is one of the seven English translations on the list, as the prize seeks to promote the region’s language diversity by including translated work.