Indo-Australian writer Aravind Adiga, winner of the prestigious Man Booker Prize 2008, has been shortlisted along with four other writers for the the $25,000 DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2017.
Noted Tamil writer Perumal Murugan's novel "Pyre" has failed to make the cut from the longlist of 13 books to the just announced shortlist. The judges have also overlooked other significant contenders like Pakistani author Omar Shahid Hamid's "The Party Worker," and Ashok Ferrey's "The Ceaseless Chatter of Demons".
The five shortlisted entries contending for the much coveted prize are led by Adiga's "Selection Day," a story of two cricketing brothers, divided by success and failure. The other shortlisted books are Anuk Arudpragasam's "The Story of a Brief Marriage"; Anjali Joseph's "The Living"; Karan Mahajan's "The Association of Small Bombs"; and "In the Jungles of the Night" by Stephen Alter.
The shortlist represents a diverse mix of established writers and young novelists fast making their mark in the South Asian literary landscape. The shortlisted authors hail from different backgrounds and geographies and include three Indian writers, of which two are based outside of the South Asian region, one Sri Lankan writer and one American writer based in India.
Ritu Menon, the Chair of the jury, along with the other four jury members -- Senath Walter Perera, Steven Bernstein, Valentine Cunningham and Yasmin Alibhai-Brown made the announcement at the London School of Economics and Political Science at a glittering event on late Wednesday evening. The jury had earlier announced a longlist of 13 novels at the Oxford Bookstore in New Delhi in August 2017.
"After deliberating on the many exceptional qualities of the novels selected, and considering the disparities in our backgrounds, the jury was unanimous in its decision on the five shortlisted titles. All five display a remarkable skill in animating current universal preoccupations in unconventional idioms, and from a distinctively South Asian perspective," said Menon.
The jury will now deliberate on the shortlist over the next month-and-a-half and the winner of The DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2017 will be announced at a special Award Ceremony at the Dhaka Literary Festival in Bangladesh on November 18.
Past winners of the DSC Prize include HM Naqvi of Pakistan, Shehan Karunatilaka of Sri Lanka, Jeet Thayil and Cyrus Mistry from India. Jhumpa Lahiri won it in 2015 for "The Lowland". Last year, the winner of the prize was Anuradha Roy for her book "Sleeping on Jupiter".