HONG KONG // The debut novel by an Indian writer was among five books shortlisted for Asia's most prestigious literary prize yesterday.
The shortlist for the US$30,000 (Dh110,000) Man Asian Literary Prize was drawn from a longlist of 15 published works, after 108 entries were submitted to a panel of judges led by the literary critic and journalist, Maya Jaggi.
Professor David Parker, executive director of the Asian Literary Prize, the organising body, hailed what he called a "remarkable" selection of books.
"Several of these writers have been celebrated in their own countries and recognised internationally, but never before have we viewed them collectively as Asian writers," said Mr Parker.
Jeet Thayil's Narcopolis is his debut, a sprawling exploration of opium addiction and its effect on Old Bombay over three decades, described by Jaggi as "a stylistic tour de force with great originality".
Silent House, an early work from Turkish writer and 2006 Nobel Prize in Literature winner Orhan Pamuk, made the list after appearing in English for the first time.
Other works include two books that were shortlisted for the 2012 Man Booker Prize for Fiction, The Garden of Evening Mists by Malaysia's Tan Twan Eng and The Briefcase by Hiromi Kawakami.
Between Clay and Dust by the Pakistani author, Musharraf Ali Farooqi, is set in an unnamed Pakistani city after the partition of India and follows the story of a former champion wrestler.
Jaggi is joined on the judging panel by the Vietnamese-American novelist, Monique Truong, and the Indian writer, Vikram Chandra.
The winner will be announced on March 14.