“The Lowland is a superb novel written in restrained prose with moments of true lyricism.”
Indian American author Jhumpa Lahiri won the fifth annual DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2015, which included a unique trophy and $50,000 (£32,000), for her novel The Lowland.
The announcement was made on 22nd January 2015 at the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival, one of the largest annual literary festivals in the world.
As Jhumpa was unable to attend the ceremony, her prize was collected by her publisher. The award was presented by the 2014 Pulitzer Prize winner for poetry, Vijay Seshadri.
The DSC Prize, a highly regarded accolade in literature, celebrates South Asian literature and the authors who write about the region and its people.
Jhumpa Lahiri saw off stiff competition from the other short-listed candidates. These included Shamsur Rahman Faruqi for The Mirror of Beauty, Romesh Gunesekera for Noontide Toll, Kamila Shamsie for A God in Every Stone and Bilal Tanweer for The Scatter Here is Too Great. You can read about the shortlist in more depth here.
The Lowland examines the socio-political realities in India through a tale of two brothers with contrasting fates. It was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2013, but lost to The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton. The latter is the youngest ever to win the prestigious award.
Indian poet Keki N. Daruwalla, the jury chair, said: “[It] is a superb novel written in restrained prose with moments of true lyricism.”
He added: “The novel is partly political and partly familial, starting with an unromanticised account of the Indian Naxalite movement and ending with a series of individual emotional resolutions.
“This is a fine novel written by a writer at the height of her powers.”
Jhumpa’s winning novel has been widely reviewed by the likes of The New York Times and The Guardian. It has been described by The Telegraph as ‘a finely pitched meditation on various modes of distance and affinity’ that ‘achieves both a distillation of the concerns… and a significant stylistic advance on them’.
Surina Narula, co-founder of the DSC Prize, was pleased with the panel’s decision to award the prize to Jhumpa, who won a Pulitzer Prize for Interpreter of Maladies back in 2000.
Surina said: “My heartiest congratulations to Jhumpa Lahiri for winning the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2015.
“The winning novel represents the very best of South Asian fiction writing today and I hope that this book will be read by a wider global audience.”
According to a DSC spokesperson, 2015 marks the final time that the prize will be presented in Jaipur.
A different location in South Asia will be chosen in an attempt to reflect the spectrum of the prize.
The list of past winners of the DSC Prize already demonstrates its efforts to recognise and celebrate outstanding literary works around the region – from Pakistan to Sri Lanka.
Holding the event in a different city will be part of a push for a wider reach in order to continue to raise the profiles of Asian writers.
DESIblitz congratulates Jhumpa Lahiri on her victory!