Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Cyrus Mistry wins DSC Prize for 2014

Reticent author Cyrus Mistry on Saturday beat off stiff competition from five other writers to become the fourth winner of the $50,000 DSC prize for South Asian literature on Saturday for his book “Chronicles of a Corpse Bearer”. The prize, is given to the best work or translations of a work on or about the South Asian region.
Last year the award was won by Jeet Thayil for his debut debut novel “Narcopolis”. Mr. Mistry was presented with the award at a ceremony at the Jaipur Literature Festival here this evening by Gloria Steinem.
“I have tried to keep myself as detached as possible with the possibility of winning this prize, so am not so enthusiastic but happy about the win,” Mr. Mistry said after receiving the award. Other books in the running were “Anand: Book of Destruction” (Translated by Chetana Sachidanandan) “Benyamin: Goat Days” (Translated by Joseph Koyippalli), Mohsin Hamid: “How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia”, “Nadeem Aslam: The Blind Man’s Garden” and Nayomi Munaweera: Island of a Thousand Mirrors.

Union HRD Minister was originally slated to inaugurate the prize ceremony. Noted writer, editor and literary critic Antara Dev Sen chaired the five member jury which first announced a long list of 15 names and then came up with a shortlist of six from which Mr. Mistry was chosen. Mr. Mistry’s book is a story of marginalised community and looks at larger questions about life and death, which makes it a different read.

Set in the city of Mumbai, it revolves around the lives of a hardly heard of and rarely-seen set of people, corpse bearers or Khandhias within the Parsi community. Their job is to carry bodies of the deceased to the Towers of Silence.

The jury comprised of Arshia Sattar, Ameena Saiyid, Rosie Boycott, and Paul Yamazaki. The shortlist was announced in November last year.

The DSC Prize for South Asian Literature was instituted in 2010 by its founder, Surina Narula. The DSC Prize for South Asian Literature is a literary prize awarded annually to writers of any ethnicity or nationality writing about South Asia themes such as culture, politics, history, or people. It is for an original full-length novel written in English, or translated into English.

Cyrus Mistry is an Indian author and playwright. He won the 2014 DSC Prize for South Asian Literature for Chronicle of a Corpse Bearer. He is the brother of author Rohinton Mistry.
Mistry is from Mumbai. He began writing at a young age as a playwright, but has also worked as a journalist and short-story writer. His first short was published in 1979. He has also written short film scripts and several documentaries. One of his short stories, "Percy", was made into the Gujarati feature film Percy in 1989; he wrote the screenplay and dialogue. It won the National Award for Best Gujarati Film in 1989, as well as a Critics' Award at the Mannheim Film Festival.

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