Commonwealth writers’ prize

Internationally recognized for propelling authors into the literary spotlight, the shortlist for the regional winners from South Asia and Europe has been unveiled in the race to win the influential 2010 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize.

Offering an exceptional opportunity for new writers to demonstrate their talent and for authors already on the literary scene to strengthen their reputation – writers across the region – are in pole position to compete with the best authors from Africa, Caribbean and Canada and South East Asia and the Pacific to win the coveted prizes of the Commonwealth’s Best Book and Best First Book.

The shortlisted writers for South Asia and Europe Best Book are:

Solo by Rana Dasgupta (Britain)

For Pepper and Christ: A Novel by Keki Daruwalla (India)

The Beijing of Possibilities by Jonathan Tel (Britain)

Heartland by Anthony Catwright (Britain)

Another Gulmohar Tree by Aamer Hussein (Pakistan)

The Immortals by Amit Chaudhuri (India)

The shortlisted writers for South Asia and Europe Best First Book are:

The Hungry Ghosts by Anne Berry (Britain)

Arzee the Dwarf by Chandrahas Choudhury (India)

In Other Rooms, Other Wonders by Daniyal Mueenuddin (Pakistan)

Among Thieves by Mez Packer (Britain)

An Equal Stillness by Francesca Kay (Britain)

Tail of the Blue Bird by Nii Parkes (Britain)

The critically acclaimed Commonwealth Writers’ Prize is in its 24th year and has a strong track record of discovering new international stars. The winners of Best First Book and Best 2

Book will stand alongside some of the biggest names in fiction, including Vikram Chandra, who won the Best First Book award in 1996 for his book Red Earth, Pouring Rain.

The Prize is presented by the Commonwealth Foundation with support from the Macquarie Group Foundation. The final programme, starting on 7 April in Delhi, India will bring together the finalists from the different regions of the Commonwealth, and the two overall winners will be announced there on 12 April.

Commenting today, The Director of the Commonwealth Foundation, Mark Collins, said:

“The Commonwealth Writers’ Prize is distinct and unique in that the books that win often have strong insight, spirit and voice about the incredible diversity, history and society of the Commonwealth. The Prize aims to reward the best of Commonwealth fiction written in English and in doing so, spots rising talent and creates new literary figures from the Commonwealth. This is the Prize to watch for tomorrow’s best-sellers.”

David Clarke, Chairman of the Macquarie Group Foundation, the main sponsor of the Prize, added:

“The Commonwealth Writers’ Prize is unique in giving a voice to authors who throw light on evolving social realities. The Macquarie Group Foundation is delighted to be part of recognising literary talent from around the world and to help support emerging writers.”

Regional Chair, Muneeza Shamsie highlighted:

“The wealth of talent on the shortlist puts Europe and South Asia region in a strong position to go onto win the overall prize. The judges were overwhelmed by extraordinary range of the submissions from the exquisitely carved miniature of Hussein to the broad sweeping strokes of Dasgupta: the shortlists represent authors who have expanded the multiple dimensions of the form from short stories and historical novels to provincial and transcultural fiction.”

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