Four Indians nominated for Commonwealth Writers’ Prize

Deccan Herald,19 February 2010



Four Indians nominated for Commonwealth Writers’ Prize
New Delhi, Feb 19 (IANS)

Noted authors Keki N. Daruwalla and Amit Chaudhuri are among the four Indians nominated for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize 2010.

Besides Daruwalla’s “For Pepper and Christ” and Chaudhuri’s “The Immortals”, authors Rana Dasgupta and Chandrahas Chowdhury have also been nominated for their books “Solo” and “Arzee the Dwarf”, respectively.

While “Solo” and “Arzee The Dwarf” have been published by HarperCollins-India, “For Pepper and Christ” has been published by Penguin-Books India and “The Immortals” has been published by Picador-India.

“For Pepper and Christ” is a historic tale of sailors voyaging during the time of Vasco Da Gama that weaves itself around the legend of Prestor John and spice trade.

“The Immortals” is the story of two families in Mumbai of the ‘eighties bound by music.
“Solo” by England-born Dasgupta is an epic tale of the 20th and 21st centuries told from the perspective of a one hundred-year-old Bulgarian man. Having achieved little in his 20th-century life, he settles into a long and prophetic daydream of the 21st century, where all the ideological experiments of the old century are over, and a collection of startling characters – demons and angels – live a life beyond utopia.

“Arzee The Dwarf”, the debut novel of Chandrahas, a young author, is the story of Mumbai told through the life and voice of a dwarf Arzee — the head projectionist of Noor, a Mumbai cinema. Arzee’s personal joys, sorrows and an unusual cast of friends encapsulate the spirit of Mumbai and the chaotic world that he lives in.
Other nominees for best book in Europe and South Asia include “The Beijing of Possibilities” by Jonathan Tel (Britian), “Heartland” by Anthony Catwright (Britain) and “Another Gulmohar Tree” by Aamer Hussain (Pakistan), a communique issued by HarperCollins said on Friday.

Besides Chandrahas’ “Arzee the Dwarf”, the nominations for the best debut books include “The Hungry Ghosts” by Anne Berry (Britain), “In Other Rooms, Other Wonders” by Daniyal Mueenuddin (Pakistan), “Among Thieves” by Mez Packer (Britain), “An Equal Stillness” by Francesca Kay (Britain) and “Tail of the Blue Birds” by Nii Parkes (Britain).
In 2009, Christos Tsiolkas from Australia won the Commonwealth Prize for the best book, while Mohammed Hanif of Pakistan won the best debut book award for “The Case of Exploding Mangoes”.

The year before Canadian author Lawrence Hill won the award for best book, while Tahmima Anam of Bangladesh was honoured for her first book “Golden Age”.