A key highlight of Dhaka Lit Fest this year is the DSC Prize Award Ceremony to announce the winner of the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2017. The US $25,000 DSC Prize instituted in 2010 is one of the most prestigious international literary awards specifically focused on South Asian writing. It is open to authors of any ethnicity or nationality as long as the writing is about South Asia and its people. It also encourages writing in regional languages and translations, and the prize money is equally shared between the author and the translator in case a translated entry wins. Its key vision is to showcase and reward the best talent writing about this region and present it to a global audience. The five shortlisted novels which are in contention for the DSC Prize 2017 are:
1. The Living by Anjali Joseph
This is the story of two lives. Claire is a young single mother working in one of England’s last remaining shoe factories. Arun makes hand-sewn chappals at his home in Kolhapur. These are lives woven through with the ongoing discipline of work and the responsibility and tedium of family life. Lives laced with the joys of friendship, the pleasure of sex, and the redemptive kindness of one’s own children. This is the story of the living.
2. The Story of a Brief Marriage by Anuk Arudpragasam
Dinesh is a young man trapped on the frontlines between the Sri Lankan army and the Tamil Tigers. Desensitized to the horror all around him, life has been pared back to the essentials: eat, sleep, survive. All this changes when he is approached one morning by an older man who asks him to marry his daughter Ganga. Told in meditative, nuanced and powerful prose, this shattering novel marks the arrival of an extraordinary new literary voice.
3. Selection Day by Aravind Adiga
Manjunath Kumar, 14, knows he is good at cricket—if not as good as his elder brother Radha. He knows that he fears and resents his domineering and cricket-obsessed father, admires his brilliantly talented sibling and is fascinated by the world of CSI and by curious and interesting scientific facts. But there are many things about himself and about the world that he doesn’t know.
4. The Association of Small Bombs by Karan Mahajan
On a hot May day in 1996 a car bomb detonates in a Delhi marketplace. Just a ‘small’ bomb, but it is fatal for two Khurana school boys. Their friend Mansoor survives the blast bearing the physical
and psychological effects of the bombs.
Humane and clear-eyed in equal measure, The Association of Small Bombs tackles the most urgent issue of today with astonishing empathy
5. In the Jungles of the Night by Stephen Alter
Who was the real Jim Corbett? In this novel, we see Jim first as a young boy of 14, growing up in Nainital. In the second part of the book, he hunts the man-eater of Mayaghat, a tigress who preys on labour camps in the foothills of Kumaon. The final section of the novel takes us to Kenya, where Corbett settled after 1947. In the Jungles of the Night will surprise and delight Corbett’s many fans and attract new readers who have yet to experience his books.
The winner of the DSC Prize 2017 will be announced at the Shah Abdul Karim Sahityabisharad Auditorium at Dhaka Lit Fest on November 18 afternoon where Abul Maal Abdul Muhith, the Honourable Minister of Finance of Bangladesh will be presenting the award to the winner.