Books, Lit Fests, News, Movies, Art, Fashion and TV of course... "I must say that I find television very educational. The minute somebody turns it on, I go to the library and read a book." - GROUCHO MARX

My Photo

I'd write more, like you said I should. If only, there was more to me.

Thursday, February 15, 2007


Sharon's done a comprehensive post on this. We've exchanged a couple of emails, she's kindly posted my comments on her blog.

You possibly know the categories and the short-list already. If not, its all here.

In terms of South Asian writing, I'm delighted to see Vikram Chandra and Yasmine Gooneratne in the shortlist but I am dismayed by the categorisation.

If Africa can be a category unto itself why not South Asia? Is our writing not competitive enough, not good enough or simply not enough?

What's even more confounding about the categorisation is the clubbing of South Asia with Europe. I could understand a South Asia/South-East Asia club, 'Europe and South Asia' beats me.

So while we get the token representation through Chandra and Gooneratne, if you were to look the 'Best First Book' shortlist, its entirely dominated by entries from Britain. Seriously?

The Saffron Kitchen, by Yasmin Crowther (UK) Abacus/Little Brown
The Mathematics of Love, by Emma Darwin (UK) Headline/Review
This Time of Dying, by Reina James (UK) Portobello
Giraffe, by J M Ledgard (UK), Jonathan Cape
Londonstani, by Gautam Malkani (UK), Fourth Estate
In the Country of Men, by Hisham Matar (UK), Viking
The Amnesia Clinic, by James Scudamore (UK), Harvill Secker

Again delighted to see Hisham Matar, not sure of the rest.

Judging our writing this year are esteemed folks from this panel. They are literary forces to reckon with it, but was it really that difficult to get South Asian or South-East Asian representation on this panel?

At a time when you know who is dominating the lit lists, this prize for one calls for a serious re-look. Giving some thought to its categories could just be the start.

Labels: , , , ,