The US $25,000 DSC Prize for South Asian Literature has turned out to be a big draw, receiving as many as 90 entries from Asia, Europe and North America from 42 publishers across 55 imprints.
Focused on South Asian fiction writing, the record number of entries for the prize, now in its night edition, highlights the increasing diversity and global interest in South Asian writing.
Over the years, the DSC prize has emerged as the marker to spot new trend and developments in the literary landscape of the region. An analysis of this year’s entries shows continued emergence of women authors and debut novelists. The emphasis on diversity of themes and issues reflect the changing culture and lifestyle people in the South Asian region.
As part of its vision to widen the ambit of South Asian writing, the DSC Prize has encouraged new writers and writing — be it first time writers, women authors or translated works from regional languages. The highlight of this year’s entries is that of the 90 novels received, 37 of them (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 6 women writers involved as translators. Forty percent of these women writers are first time writers.
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. 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 where very few entries were 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.”
This year the DSC Prize achieved its maximum publisher participation since its inception in 2010. A total of 42 publishers from across the world sent in entries of which 30% are based outside the South Asian region in countries like the UK, the USA, Canada, and Singapore. An increasing number of readers worldwide are showing interest in exploring the nuances of South Asian life, which in turn has encouraged more global publishers to publish stories about this region. In line with its objective to encourage regional narratives, the DSC Prize 2019 has received several entries translated from languages like Bengali, Tamil, Malayalam, Assamese, Kannada and Hindi which offer a glimpse into the South Asian life lesser known.
The DSC Prize, which is administered by the South Asian Literature Prize & Events Trust, follows a comprehensive process.
As part of this, the entries for 2019 are at present being read by the five-member international jury panel who would first announce a longlist of 10-15 books in September in New Delhi followed by a shortlist announcement of 5 or 6 books in November in London. The eventual winner would be announced at a special award ceremony in mid December at the IME Nepal Literature Festival in line with its peripatetic nature of announcing the winner in a different South Asian country every year.