DSC prize for South Asian literature shortlist sets stars against debut novelists

Pulitzer winner Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Lowland is one of five finalists, alongside two fiction debuts, in contention for $50,000 award: The Guardian

From the story of a bomb blast in the heart of Karachi to a portrait of postwar Sri Lanka, the shortlist for the DSC prize for South Asian literature pits acclaimed authors including Kamila Shamsie and Jhumpa Lahiri against two debut novelists.

The $50,000 (£32,000) award is given to a writer of any nationality writing about South Asia and its people, with five writers on the shortlist this year.

Shamsie and Lahiri are joined on the 2015 DSC shortlist by Romesh Gunesekera, who was shortlisted for the Booker prize in 1994 for Reef, and for debuts from first-time novelists Bilal Tanweer and Shamsur Rahman Faruqi.

According to the chair of the judges, the poet Keki Daruwalla, the submissions were strikingly diverse.

“When I was in England in the late 80s, I was told by a publisher that 70% of manuscripts which came to her were about marital discord,” Daruwalla said. “Of the 75 books we read, I don’t think there were more than one or two which were about marital strife … but I suppose people jumped at political movements.”

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