At SALF, literature from South Asia meets the world.
By Adenike Fagade
When members of DADA books made an appearance at the Jaipur Literature Festival held from January 21-25, 2010 in India, it was in a bid to establish and build meaningful relationships with counterparts in the Indian book industry. The publishing house was again been given another opportunity to court the Asian book market as one of its authors- Onyeka Nwelue, author of The Abyssinian Boy, was invited to the 2010 DSC South Asian Literature Festival (SALF). The SALF is scheduled to hold from 15-25 October in London and from 26-31 October in the rest of UK. Nwelue whose debut novel has won literary awards and has been feted in India and Hong Kong in the past, was scheduled to feature at two readings during the duration of the literature festival, interfacing with renowned authors, poets, and artists deepening the connection between the publishing industry in Nigeria and that in countries like India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and UK.
DSC Limited, sponsors of both the Jaipur Literary Festival and the South Asian Literature Festival, is an international infrastructure company based in India and is known for its various projects aimed at creating infrastructure wealth- infrawealth. The company however, identified that the promotion of literature helps build the character of society, just as its infrastructure projects help create the infrawealth of the nation. So for the past five years, the company has been the principal sponsor of the DSC Jaipur Literature Festival. During this period, the event has grown to become the largest literary event of its kind in the region. It is in its endeavour to further strengthen its association with South Asian Literature that DSC Limited is now sponsoring the DSC South Asian Literature Festival. Seeing the growing interest and a robust following of South Asian writing in the UK, DSC is sponsoring the event as a critical step towards extending the company’s patronage of literature to a global platform.
The South Asian Literature Festival is a premier festival in Britain showcasing the diverse literary and cultural traditions of the South Asian region. The Festival has been envisioned to imaginatively combine South Asian literature with various other disciplines and art forms, including journalism, dance, visual art and music to explore the social, political and cultural issues that are shaping today’s world. Confirmed participants to the SALF include eminent personalities in the literary and cultural fraternity including Fatima Bhutto, Amit Chaudhuri, Lord Meghnad Desai, Farrukh Dhondy, Romesh Gunesekera, Mohammed Hanif, Nayantara Sahgal, Michael Wood etc.
Supporting the SALF is the first DSC Prize for South Asian Literature with US$ 50,000 prize money in celebration of the rich and varied world of literature belonging to the South Asian region. Fourteen longlist entries have been selected from an eclectic mix of writers who are expected to dominate the literary scene of South Asia in the years to come. The Longlist for the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature comprises:
v Upamanyu Chatterjee: Way To Go (Penguin),
v Amit Chaudhuri: The Immortals (Picador India),
v Chandrahas Choudhury: Arzee the Dwarf (HarperCollins),
v Musharraf Ali Farooqui: The Story of a Widow (Picador India),
v Ru Freeman: A Disobedient Girl (Penguin/ Viking),
v Anjum Hassan: Neti Neti (IndiaInk/ Roli Books),
v Tania James: Atlas of Unknowns (Pocket Books),
v Manju Kapur: The Immigrant (Faber & Faber),
v HM Naqvi: Home Boy (HarperCollins),
v Salma: The Hour Past Midnight (Zubaan, translated by Lakshmi Holmstrom),
v Sankar: The Middleman (Penguin, translated by Arunava Sinha),
v Ali Sethi: The Wish Maker (Penguin),
v Jaspreet Singh: Chef (Bloomsbury),
v Aatish Taseer: The Temple Goers (Picador India).
A jury made up of internationally acclaimed literary figures- Lord Matthew Evans, Ian Jack, Amitava Kumar, Moni Mohsin, and Nilanjana S Roy (Chairperson), will deliberate on the Longlist and then go on to announce 5 selected works as the Shortlist at the DSC South Asian Literature Festival in UK at the end of October. The winner of the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature will be declared at the DSC Jaipur Literature Festival in January 2011. The prize will be awarded for the best work of fiction pertaining to the South Asian region, published in English, including translations into English.
Unfortunately, Onyeka was not granted a UK Visa for the purpose of the festival, however, DADA books wish the organisers of SALF a successful outing this year and look forward to future opportunities for collaboration.