Posted by: Lisa Hill | September 27, 2019

2019 DSC Prize longlist

If you’re looking to diversify your reading and learn more about the Indian sub-continent while you’re at it, the DSC Prize can be relied upon to offer interesting choices.

This is the 2019 longlist announced in New Delhi last night: there are 15 novels including 3 translated works in contention for the US $25,000 prize.

This is from the press release, with thanks to Writu Bose, Communications Associate and Bashob Dey, Steering Committee member

The list comprises 3 translated works from Malayalam, Tamil and Bengali, 7 women authors and 7 debut novelists, which highlights the growing diversity and the power of new writing in the South Asian literary landscape. The increasing globalization of South Asian writing is brought alive by the fact that quite a few of the longlisted authors are based outside the region, including an American writer without any South Asian ethnic roots, and they have all written with the same in-depth perspective and understanding of South Asian life and culture as their counterparts based in the region. A wide spectrum of South Asian themes across geographies is visible in the longlist which includes writers of Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Afghan and Sri Lankan origin. The selection of the longlist was enthusiastically welcomed by publishers, authors and the literary personalities who attended the event.

The longlisted entries contending for the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2019 are: 

  • Akil Kumarasamy: Half Gods (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, USA) 
  • Amitabha Bagchi: Half the Night is Gone (Juggernaut Books, India) 
  • Devi S. Laskar: The Atlas of Reds and Blues (Counterpoint Press, USA) 
  • Fatima Bhutto: The Runaways (Viking, Penguin Random House, India, and Viking, Penguin Random House, UK) 
  • Jamil Jan Kochai: 99 Nights in Logar (Bloomsbury Circus, Bloomsbury, India & UK, and Viking, Penguin Random House, USA) 
  • Madhuri Vijay: The Far Field (Grove Press, Grove Atlantic, USA) 
  • Manoranjan Byapari: There’s Gunpowder in the Air (Translated by Arunava Sinha, Eka, Amazon Westland, India) 
  • Mirza Waheed: Tell Her Everything (Context, Amazon Westland, India) 
  • Nadeem Zaman: In the Time of the Others (Picador, Pan Macmillan, India) 
  • Perumal Murugan: A Lonely Harvest (Translated by Aniruddhan Vasudevan, Penguin Books, Penguin Random House, India) 
  • Rajkamal Jha: The City and the Sea (Hamish Hamilton, Penguin Random House, India) 
  • Sadia Abbas: The Empty Room (Zubaan Publishers, India) 
  • Shubhangi Swarup: Latitudes of Longing (HarperCollins, HarperCollins, India) 
  • T. D. Ramakrishnan: Sugandhi alias Andal Devanayaki (Translated by Priya K. Nair, Harper Perennial, HarperCollins, India) 
  • Tova Reich: Mother India (Macmillan, Pan Macmillan, India)

So, now begins the quest to source some of these.  It’s always a bit of a challenge with books from India, but my experience with previous prize winners, is that it’s going to be worth it. See my reviews of

2012: Chinaman, the Legend of Pradeep Mathew by Shehan Karunatilaka
2013: Narcopolis by Jeet Thayil
2015 The Lowland, by Jhumpa Lahiri
2017 The Story of a Brief Marriage by Anuk Arudpragasam


  1. I read a bit of sub-continent literature for a while but not much lately. I should rectify that. I haven’t heard of most of these books and authors. (Am on a train, about to alight at Kanazawa.)


    • The only one I’ve heard of is Mirza Waheed, but honestly, would we ever hear anything about writing from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka or Bangladesh if we relied on Australian bookshops? And yet they have produced some spectacularly good literature. That Story of a Brief Marriage is one of the most unforgettable books I’ve ever read.


      • No you’re right, but the poor old bookshops can’t really stop every nationality can they. We do have a speciality Asian bookshop in Canberra, the Asia Bookroom, but I stopped their emails as they were overwhelming me. They have extensive new and old books from all over Asia.


        • As yes, I think I’ve been there. I signed up for their newsletters too and had to stop them because of the bombardment.
          There is a bookshop in Eltham that specialises in Asian books but it’s a long way from where I am…
          Are you still on the train? Or settled somewhere comfortable for the night?


          • NOW settled thanks Lisa. Did a little walk (and found those bridges I promised). Will be going out to dinner soonish.

            Glad I’m not the Only one overwhelmed by their emails!


            • Some businesses don’t realise that too many email promotions is counter productive. As soon as they annoy me, I set up a ‘rule’ and they go straight to my junk mail folder where I never even see them
              Enjoy your dinner!.(I’ve just had a mushroom omelette to be followed by pears poached in red wine, (running a bit late because I lost track of time and forgot to put them on when I should have).


              • Yes, rules are very handy aren’t they, particularly where unsubscribe falls!

                Love poached pears, but they can take time that you can’t really hurry!


                • I believe that there’s something in the system that prevents you from blocking a sender if you’ve previously subscribed.
                  Modern gourmets despise poached pears as old-fashioned, (and it’s true: my recipe comes from my 1980s first-ever crock-pot book by Margaret Fulton) but I reckon they are a terrific low-fat dessert, and they can be dressed up for the dinner party with style.


                • I’ll have to ask the guru about that! My issue is that some don’t let you unsubscribe.


                • That too.

                  Liked by 1 person

                • Ops, and I agree ie poached (or baked pears). They can be dressed up for dinners.

                  Liked by 1 person

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