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90 eclectic entries for $25,000 DSC 2019 literary prize

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New Delhi: The strong role of women authors, the continued emergence of debut novelists and the diversity of themes and issues which reflect the changing ethos of the culture and people in the South Asian region feature in the 90 entries from 42 publishers across 55 imprints from Asia, Europe and North America received for the $25,000 DSC prize for South Asian fiction writing that is now in its ninth edition.

Of the entries, 41 per cent are from debut novelists and and 47 per cent from women writers. Forty per cent of these women writers are first timers, indicating that more and more women are writing about this region as the tapestry of South Asian life offers them a rich canvas of emotions and issues which reinforces their own unique first-hand experiences.

“As the prize is specifically focused on South Asian fiction writing, its entries serve as a bellwether of the trends and developments taking place in the literary landscape of the region,” a statement from the South Asian Literature Prize & Events Trust, which administers the award, said, adding the entries highlight “the increasing diversity and global interest in South Asian writing”.

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As part of its vision to widen the ambit of South Asian writing, “the DSC Prize has always encouraged new writers and writing – be it first time writers, women authors or translated works from regional languages,” the statement said.

Commenting on the diversity of the entries received, Surina Narula, co-founder of the DSC Prize said: “The ninth year of the DSC Prize entries reflect the growing importance of South Asian literature in the global literary scene. It is evident from the fact that more than a quarter of the participating publishers this year are based outside the region compared to the first year where very few entries were from outside India.”

“There is also an immense diversity of themes relevant to South Asian life reflecting the changing dynamics and aspirations of its people. It is also very encouraging to see entries from many women and debut writers and translations,” Narula added.

A longlist of 10-15 books will be announced in September in New Delhi followed by a shortlist announcement of 5-6 books in November in London. The eventual winner would be announced at a special award ceremony in mid-December at the finale of the IME Nepal Literature Festival in Pokhara in line with its peripatetic nature of announcing the winner in a different South Asian country every year.

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