Jhumpa Lahiri has won the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2015 for The Lowland, published in the UK by Bloomsbury.
Lahiri was named the winner of the $50,000 prize at the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival taking place in India this week.
The DSC Prize for South Asian Literature is open to any author belonging to any part of the globe as long as the work is based on the South Asian region and its people.
Chair of the prize’s jury, writer Keki N Daruwalla, said: “The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri is a superb novel written in restrained prose with moments of true lyricism. It starts with a sense of loss and trauma due to the death and then the ongoing presence of a key character. The novel is partly political and partly familial, starting with an unromanticised account of the Indian Naxalite movement and ending with a series of individual emotional resolutions.
He added: "The Lowland is a novel about the difficulty of love in complex personal and societal circumstances, inhabited by characters which are finely drawn and where the lowland itself is a metaphor running through their entire lives. This is a fine novel written by a writer at the height of her powers.”
Lahiri, who was not able to collect the prize in person, beat shortlisted authors Bilal Tanweer for The Scatter Here is Too Great (Jonathan Cape); Kamila Shamsie for A God in Every Stone (Bloomsbury); Romesh Gunesekera for Noontide Toll (Granta); and Shamsur Rahman Faruqi for The Mirror of Beauty (Penguin).
Surina Narula, co-founder of the DSC Prize, said: “My heartiest congratulations to Jhumpa Lahiri for winning the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2015.
“The winning novel represents the very best of South Asian fiction writing today and I hope that this book will be read by a wider global audience.”
Joining chair Daruwalla on the jury were John Freeman, author, literary critic and former editor of Granta from the US; Maithree Wickramasinghe, a Professor of English at the University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka and the University of Sussex and an expert on gender studies; Michael Worton, emeritus professor at the University College London, who has written extensively on modern literature and art;and Razi Ahmed from Pakistan, who is the founding director of the annual, not-for-profit Lahore Literary Festival.