Saturday 26 January 2019

Jayant Kaikini's 'No Presents Please' wins DSC prize for south Asian literature

Writer sees off competition from Kamila Shamsie and Mohsin Hamid with award for his collection of Mumbai-set short stories

The poet and short story writer Jayant Kaikini has beaten internationally acclaimed writers including Kamila Shamsie and Mohsin Hamid to win the DSC prize for south Asian literature.

Kaikini’s No Presents Please, a collection of stories set in Mumbai, was originally written in the southern Indian language of Kannada and translated into English by the award-winning translator Tejaswini Niranjana. The $25,000 (£19,100) prize, which rewards the best writing about south Asian culture from writers of any ethnicity and from all over the world, will be split equally between author and translator.

The chair of the judges, Rudrangshu Mukherjee, hailed Kalkani’s “quiet voice”.

“The Mumbai that came across through the pen of Kaikini was the city of ordinary people, who inhabit the bustling metropolis,” he said. “It is a view from the margins and all the more poignant because of it.”
‘A city where the surreal meets the everyday’ … Jayant Kaikini. Photograph: PR
No Presents Please is the first work in translation to win the award in the prize’s eight-year history. Mukherjee also paid tribute to Niranjana’s “outstanding contribution”.

According to the publisher, HarperCollins India, No Presents Please tells the stories of people from across the city of Mumbai: “[It] is not about what Mumbai is, but what it enables … From Irani cafes to chawls, old cinema houses to reform homes, Kaikini seeks out and illuminates moments of existential anxiety and of tenderness. In these 16 stories, cracks in the curtains of the ordinary open up to possibilities that might not have existed but for this city where the surreal meets the everyday.”

The collection saw off novels already garlanded with success. Shamsie’s Home Fire, a modern take on Sophocles’ tragedy Antigone, won the Women’s prize for fiction in 2018. Mohsin Hamid’s Exit West, which explores global migration through a series of mysterious doors, made the shortlist of the 2017 Man Booker prize. Neel Mukherjee, Manu Joseph and Sujit Saraf were also nominated for the prize.

The award has been won in the past by authors including Jeet Thayil and Jhumpa Lahiri. Its judging panel this year was chaired by Rudrangshu Mukherjee and included the Guardian’s Claire Armitstead.

(Source: The Guardian)

No comments:

Post a Comment