6 Indians in Commonwealth literary prize shortlists

New Delhi: Six Indian writers, including Jahnavi Barua and Rahul Bhattacharya, figure in the shortlists of the 2012 Commonwealth Book and Short Story Prizes.

Barua, for her novel "Rebirth", Bhattacharya for his "The Sly Company of People Who Care" and C Y Gopinath for "The Book of Answers" have been shortlisted in the Commonwealth Book Prize category.

Pakistan`s Jamil Ahmad ("The Wandering Falcon") and Sri Lankan writer Shehan Karunatilaka ("Chinaman: The Legend of Pradeep Mathew") are among 15 other authors also in the race in this section.

The Indian writers in the shortlist for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize are Anushka Jasraj ("Radio Story"), Poile Sengupta ("Ammulu") and Sreejith Sukumaran ("Another Dull Day").

Regional winners will be named on May 22 and the overall winner will be announced at the Hay Festival on June 8. Regional winners for each prize will be awarded in five regions: Africa, Asia, Canada and Europe, Caribbean, and the Pacific. "The news was unexpected again, but exciting," Bangalore- based Barua, who also got a nomination for the Man Asian Booker Prize in 2011 for "Rebirth", told PTI.

Commenting on the shortlisted entries, chair of the Commonwealth Book Prize, Margaret Busby said, "Being a prize for first novels, the judges were looking for potential and promise from the entries. We certainly found what we were hoping for with some consummately accomplished writing from some very interesting writers.

"Lively debate amongst the judges raised comments on wonderful language and confident characterisation and often challenged us to overcome our prejudice on what makes a novel."

Chair of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize, Bernardine Evaristo said, "The high quality and variety of international stories on this shortlist is fantastic. To read them is to be immersed in a wide range of cultures and situations, and to be persuaded by superbly-crafted narrative voices, different ways of seeing and being, suspenseful dilemmas and intensely-rendered emotional experiences."

To mark the 25th anniversary of the Commonwealth Writers` Prize in 2011, the Commonwealth Foundation re-launched its prizes to form part of Commonwealth Writers. The prizes act as catalysts to target and identify talented writers from different regions who will go on to inspire and inform their local communities.