Well known author and poet and regarded as the future of Kannada literature, Jayant Kaikini, has been awarded the prestigious DSC Prize for South Asian Literature, 2018 for his book, No Presents Please. The book has been translated into English by eminent translator Tejaswini Niranjana.
In a glittering award ceremony at Tata Steel Kolkata Literary Meet here, the US $25,000 DSC Prize was awarded to Jayant Kaikini and Tejaswini Niranjana along with trophy by eminent writer Ruskin Bond. As per the prize process, the prize money would be equally shared between the author and the translator. A galaxy of writers, publishers, media and literary enthusiasts attended the Award Ceremony at iconic Victoria Memorial Hall.
This is the first time that a translated work has won the DSC prize.
No Presents Please centres around a protagonist who battles for survival in Mumbai living a lonely life but carrying on with his spirited struggle with a touching big-heartedness. Empathy and survival are the constant, codependent themes that unify every strand of this extraordinary book, creating a shimmering mosaic of a conflicted city that is as kind as it is, at times, cruel.
The six shortlisted authors and books in contention for the DSC Prize this year were Jayant Kaikini: No Presents Please (Translated by Tejaswini Niranjana, Harper Perennial, HarperCollins India); Kamila Shamsie: Home Fire (Riverhead Books, USA and Bloomsbury, UK); Manu Joseph: Miss Laila Armed And Dangerous (Fourth Estate, HarperCollins, India); Mohsin Hamid: Exit West (Riverhead Books, USA and Hamish Hamilton, Penguin Random House, India); Neel Mukherjee: A State Of Freedom (Chatto & Windus, Vintage, UK and Hamish Hamilton, Penguin Random House, India) and Sujit Saraf: Harilal & Sons (Speaking Tiger, India).
Jury Chair Rudrangshu Mukherjee, speaking on behalf of the jury said, “The jury was deeply impressed by the quiet voice of Jayan Kaikini who presented vignettes of life in Mumbai and made the city the protagonist of a coherent narrative. The Mumbai that came across through the pen of Kaikini was the city of ordinary people who inhabit the bustling metropolis. It is a view from the margins and all the more poignant because of it.”
Malavika Banerjee, Director of the Tata Steel Kolkata Literary Meet, welcomed the DSC Prize to the city of Kolkata.
Administered by the South Asian Literature Prize & Events Trust, the prestigious DSC Prize for South Asian Literature has helped to raise the profile of South Asian writing around the world by rewarding authors who write about the region. The DSC Prize for South Asian Literature which was instituted in 2010, is an established international literary prize that awards the best work in South Asian fiction writing each year. The past winners have been from various countries and their work has reflected the importance of South Asianv culture and literature.
Congratulating the winner, Surina Narula, MBE and co-founder of the DSC Prize said, “My heartfelt congratulations to author Jayant Kaikini and translator Tejaswini Niranjana for winning the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2018 for their brilliant book ‘No Presents Please’. It was a pleasure reading the shortlist. The challenges faced by the authors to weave their protests against the wave of anti globalization into their writings of seemingly harmless pieces of literature could be seen through their work, migration being a major theme this year. The DSC Prize has completed eight years and reading South Asian literature written in English including translations has enabled larger global audiences to understand the issues globalization has brought about. The jury as usual has to do the difficult task of selecting the better amongst the best. My congratulations to the jury for their excellent choice of the winner.”