Sharma, Mukherjee and Salgado on DSC South Asian Literature longlist

Sharma, Mukherjee and Salgado on DSC South Asian Literature longlist

Leeds indie Peepal Tree Press is on the newly announced longlist for the $50,000 DSC Prize for South Asian Literature.

There were over 75 entries for the DSC Prize this year, from which the jury compiled the longlist of 11 books they felt represented the best works of fiction related to the South Asian region.

Peepal Tree – a publisher of around 25 titles a year – features on the longlist with A Little Dust on the Eyes by Minoli Salgado, which confronts twin tragedies for Sri Lanka of a brutal civil war and the Boxing Day tsunami. Hannah Bannister, Peepal Tree marketing manager and managing editor, said: “‘A Little Dust on the Eyes first came to our attention when it won the SI Leeds Literary Prize for unpublished fiction by BME women writers. We immediately fell in love with this brave and beautiful book and it is wonderful to see Minoli's book getting the recognition it so richly deserves.”

Last year Peepal Tree Press pipped Marlon James's A Brief History of Seven Killings with Vladimir Lucien's Sounding Ground to scoop The OCM Bocas prize for Caribbean Literature. 

Akhil Sharma’s second novel Family Life (Faber & Faber, UK), winner of the Folio Prize, and described by Telegraph as “a story of the American dream gone sour”, also made the longlist; as did Neel Mukherjee's second novel The Lives of Others (Vintage/Penguin Random House, UK), which was shortlisted for the 2014 Man Booker prize.

Monica Byrne is shortlisted for her debut novel The Girl in the Road (Blackfriars/Little, Brown Book Group UK), winner of the Tiptree Award for its “nuanced portrait of violence against women, in a variety of forms, and violence perpetrated by women” as well as positing a “stunning science-fictional big idea: What would it be like to walk the length of a few-meter-wide wave generator stretching across the open sea from India to Africa, with only what you can carry on your back?”

The remainder in competition are Aatish Taseer for The Way Things Were (Picador/ PanMacmillan, India), described by The Independent as “highly intellectual and deeply poetic”; Amit Chaudhuri for Odysseus Abroad (Hamish Hamilton, Penguin India), focused on London in the 1980s; Anuradha Roy for Sleeping on Jupiter (Hachette, India) longlisted for the 2015 Man Booker prize; K.R. Meera’s Hang Woman (translated by J Devika; Penguin, India), credited by The Indian Express for creating "one of the most extraordinary protagonists in recent Indian fiction"; Mirza Waheed for The Book of Gold Leaves (Viking/Penguin India) set in war-torn Kasmir; and, from Bloomsbury, India, Raj Kamal Jha’s fourth novel She Will Build Him A City and Sandip Roy’s portrait of modern India Don’t Let Him Know.

This year’s international  jury panel includes journalist Mark Tully, who has commented on a wide range of issues affecting the South Asian region; Dennis Walder, Emeritus Professor of Literature at the Open University; bookseller and literary coordinator based out of Seattle, Karen Allman; Neloufer de Mel, Senior Professor of English at the University of Colombo, Sri Lanka; and Bangladeshi writer Syed Manzoorul Islam.

Tully, chair of the jury commented: “Once again the DSC Prize has attracted an outstanding list of entries. The novels vary widely in content and in style. They cover all the countries of South Asia. I am particularly happy that there are novels from the small states of North East India – states which do not get adequate attention from the rest of the country.

"Among the entrants there are well-known names and some authors hoping to make their names. By the time we come to select the winner at the Galle Literary Festival in January I will have been enormously enriched by the books I have read and the discussions about them I will have with my distinguished colleagues on the jury. I am also confident that the cause of South Asian literature will have been well served.”

The shortlist for the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature will be announced on 26th November at the London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) in London.