Saturday, January 22, 2011

In which H.M.Naqvi takes home $50,000 and Junot Diaz is the "winner in the ‘audience darling’ sweepstakes"

Supriya Nair is reporting from the Jaipur Literary Festival, and she's just posted to say that H.M.Naqvi's Homeboy has won the inaugural DSC South Asian Literary Prize.
The inaugural DSC South Asian Literature Prize, announced this evening at the Jaipur Literature Festival, was awarded to Pakistani-American author HM Naqvi for his 2010 novel, Homeboy.
DSC Prize jury chairperson Nilanjana Roy, who presented the award to Naqvi, said that the novel deserved commendation for “the raw energy of its prose and its evocation of a generation who can’t go home again.”
The prize, an award of $50,000, will be awarded annually by a jury to the best work of fiction pertaining to the South Asian region. The lack of a criterion for national eligibility differentiates the DSC Prize significantly from other major literary awards, such as the UK’s Man-Booker Prize, which is awarded only to writers from the Commonwealth, or the USA-specific National Book Awards.
Roy remarked that the literary establishment had only recently begun to debate and define Asian fiction, in a global conversation long dominated by the northern hemisphere. “Latin America has the Cervantes Prize, and Africa in recent years has the Caine Prize,” she said. “With the DSC Prize we’ve helped to fill something of a blank space in the literary world.”

Also, apparently Junot Diaz has stolen the show. If you're following tweets, there's precious little about yesterday's other lit star, Pamuk. Everyone was going on and on about Diaz, who'se still got the tweets buzzing.

Here's Supriya Nair again, about today's session that had a number of other people on the panel, but hey - it's all Diaz in the write-up!
Earlier, I was at a panel called ‘Imaginary Homelands,’ where Chandrahas Choudhury engaged a whole raft of writers – Marina Lewycka, Manjushree Thapa, Ian Jack, Junot Diaz and Kamila Shamsie – in a conversation about displacement, immigration, and its effects on literature. There’s often an inverse correlation between a panel’s quality and the number of speakers populating it, but this one was beautifully managed and presented. It occasioned the best thing I’ve heard anyone say over the last two days. “I don’t want to be part of a deracinated class of ‘universal’ writers who don’t really exist,” said Junot Diaz, in response to Choudhury’s question about being identified as a writer of place – in this case, a ‘Dominican writer’ – instead of the broader, more catholic identity of ‘writer.’ “Because let’s face it, no matter what language you’re writing in, the majority of the people on this planet can’t read it. I can be a Dominican writer if I can also be five billion other things at the same time. Otherwise, I’m not down with that shit.”
I’m down with Mr Diaz, as are several other people in the crowd, judging from whose reaction we have a clear winner in the ‘audience darling’ sweepstakes. Three more days to go: we’ll try and keep a running count of other crowd-pleasing moments here, at least from the panels that I’ll attend, which will be far fewer than I would like. I know, what a hard life. Off to catch Kiran Desai again, this time with Orhan Pamuk, Leila Aboulela, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Mohsin Hamid, talking with Rana Dasgupta. They may just be the only people with seats in the whole house.
 And did I say that Tehelka's live-streaming some sessions? Here.


Fëanor said...

Interestingly, the DSC's website doesn't announce the winner. They are still fixated on the shortlisters.

Space Bar said...

feanor: really? they're as bad as the tv channels here that - my mum says - haven't yet mentioned bhimsen joshi once!

Fëanor said...

well, i'm assuming this is their website.