Winning prose: Jhumpa Lahiri
PULITZER Prize winning author Jhumpa Lahiri won the DSC Prize for South Asian fiction on Thursday (January 22), the third straight year a writer of Indian origin has carried off the annual $50,000 prize that recognises the region’s top literary talent.
Lahiri, who won a Pulitzer Prize in 2000, was the best-known author on a shortlist of five writers with her entry The Lowland, a tale of Indian brothers bound by tragedy. The novel had been shortlisted for the Man Booker prize in 2013.
The winner was announced at an evening session of the annual literature festival in Jaipur, Rajasthan, with Lahiri the only writer among the shortlisted authors not present.
Keki Daruwalla, the chair of judges, described The Lowland as a partly political and partly familial novel about the difficulty of love in complex circumstances, by a writer at the height of her powers.
“(It is) a superb novel written in restrained prose with moments of true lyricism,” Daruwalla said in a statement.
This year’s shortlist for the DSC Prize, awarded to the best novel about South Asia published or translated into English, included Pakistani writer Kamila Shamsie and London-based Romesh Gunesekara, a finalist for the Booker prize two decades ago.
Rounding out the list were first-time novelist Bilal Tanweer from Pakistan and India’s Shamsur Rahman Faruqi, nominated for his novel which he translated from Urdu.
The jury selected the finalists from 75 novels submitted for the award, now in its fifth year. Lahiri’s win extended a winning streak for Indian-origin writers at the DSC Prize, won by Jeet Thayil and Cyrus Mistry in preceding years.