Racing to Jaipur: the final lap

Nov 25 2012, 01:52 IST
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SummaryAt a gathering of leading publishers, writers and cultural leaders at London’s May Fair Hotel on the evening of Tuesday November 20, the shortlist for the third DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2013 was announced.

At a gathering of leading publishers, writers and cultural leaders at London’s May Fair Hotel on the evening of Tuesday November 20, the shortlist for the third DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2013 was announced. The prize carries an award of R2,800,000/ £32,000/ $50,000 given to one international author (or shared with their translator) who has written the best novel thematically linked to the South Asian region. The final prize will be announced during the DSC Jaipur Literature Festival in India in January 2013, and has grown to be a fixture in the international publishing calendar, due to the significance of South Asia’s rapidly expanding book market.

The jury, chaired by Nobel Prize-nominated writer and academic K Satchidanandan (former Chief-Executive of India’s National Academy of Letters), undertook intense deliberation of a longlist consisting of 16 books. The jury featured a number of leading literary figures: writer and critic, Muneeza Shamsie (Managing Editor of The Oxford Companion to the Literatures of Pakistan), Rick Simonson (Senior Buyer, Founder, and Co-Director of Elliott Bay’s internationally-renowned author reading programme), Suvani Singh (Festival Director of Kathmandu Literary Jatra), and arts entrepreneur, Eleanor O’Keeffe (former Director of the Jaipur Literary Festival; Co-Founder of the Palestinian Festival of Literature, and cultural organisation, 5x15).

Satchidanandan commented that, “The six shortlisted books from different countries represent the diversity of South Asian fiction in terms of theme as well as idiom. We were looking for works which are thematically fresh, stylistically innovative and are a definitive contribution to novel as a genre. The choice was not easy as we had 16 outstanding works to choose from but we were unanimous in our final choice.”

Long-listed authors, publishers (including Hamish Hamilton, Harvill Secker, Penguin, Picador, Headline Review, HarperCollins, Random House, Hachette, Faber and Faber and Zubaan), London’s literati, and ambassadors from the South Asian region gathered together for the gala event at the May Fair Hotel.

The Wandering Falcon

Jamil Ahmad

Hamish Hamilton/

Penguin India

This book begins with a young couple, refugees from their tribe, who have traveled to the middle of nowhere to escape the cruel punishments meted upon those who transgress the boundaries of marriage and family. Their son, Tor Baz, descended from both chiefs and outlaws, becomes ‘The Wandering Falcon’, who travels throughout the tribes, over the mountains and the plains, in the towns and tents that comprise the homes of the tribal people. 

Jamil Ahmad has been a member of Pakistan’s Civil Service. This is

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