Wednesday, 20 January 2016

An Award Winning Book

Here at Armadillo Magazine we focus on literarure for children and young adults but occasionally something comes to our attention that we think it is important to share, this Blog post is about such a something … important for its coverage of a minority group of fiction writers read on to find out more and be inspired for your own reading if not for the reading of your children, just yet at least …

The Prize The DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2016 

The Winner Anuradha Roy for Sleeping on Jupiter 
Anuradha Roy is Economist Crossword Prize for Fiction winner for her novel The Folded Earth.  Her first novel, An Atlas of Impossible Longing, has been widely translated and was named by World Literature Today as one of the sixty essential books on modern India. Anurdha lives in Ranikhet.

The Plot … A train stops at a railway station. A young woman jumps off. She has wild hair, sloppy clothes, a distracted air. She looks Indian, yet is somehow not. The sudden violence of what happens next leaves the other passengers gasping.
The train terminates at Jarmuli, a temple town by the sea. Here, among pilgrims, priests and ashrams, three old women disembark only to encounter the girl once again.
What is someone like her doing in this remote corner, which attracts only worshippers?
Over the next five days, the old women live out their long-planned dream of a holiday together; their temple guide finds ecstasy in forbidden love; and the girl is joined by a photographer battling his own demons.
Evil and violence lie beneath the serene surface of this town becoming evident when lives overlap and collide. Unexpected connections are revealed between devotion and violence, friendship and fear as Jarmuli is revealed as a place with a long, dark past that transforms all who encounter it. This is a stark and unflinching novel by a spellbinding storyteller, about religion, love, and violence in the modern world.

16th January 2016; Sri Lanka:  In a glittering ceremony, the US $50,000 DSC Prize along with a unique trophy was awarded by Hon. Ranil Wickremesinghe, Prime Minister of Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka to Anuradha Roy.
The six  shortlisted authors and novels in contention for the DSC Prize this year were Akhil Sharma: Family Life (Faber & Faber, UK), Anuradha Roy: Sleeping on Jupiter (Hachette, India), K.R. Meera: Hangwoman (Translated by J Devika; Penguin, India), Mirza Waheed: The Book of Gold Leaves (Viking/Penguin India), Neel Mukherjee: The Lives of Others (Vintage/Penguin Random House, UK) and Raj Kamal Jha: She Will Build Him A City (Bloomsbury, India).
Now in its sixth year, the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature is an established international literary prize that awards the best work in South Asian fiction writing each year. This year the DSC Prize received 74 entries with entries from publishers from the South Asian region as well as the UK, US, Canada, Australia and South Africa amongst others. The Prize specifically focuses on South Asian writing.  It is not ethnicity driven by the origin of the author and is open to any author whose story is based on the South Asian region and its people.  

The DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2016 was judged by a five member jury panel comprised of Mark Tully, Chair of the jury panel and renowned journalist; Dennis Walder, Emeritus Professor of Literature at the Open University, UK; Karen Allman, highly respected book seller and literary coordinator based in Seattle, USA; Neloufer de Mel, Senior Professor of English at the University of Colombo, Sri Lanka; and Syed Manzoorul Islam, celebrated Bangladeshi writer, translator, critic and academic.

Speaking on the occasion, Mark Tully on behalf of the jury commented “We had a shortlist of six outstanding books. Their excellence made our task particularly difficult. We chose Sleeping on Jupiter by Anuradha Roy because of its elegance, flair and readability. It raises many issues succinctly and with commendable economy of words. The South Asian setting is described faithfully and evocatively. Among the issues raised are the power of memory and myth, religious hypocrisy, sexuality, abuse and other forms of violence. The novel contains powerful portraits of both major and minor characters. We believe this book will be a source of inspiration to other writers.”
Surina Narula, MBE and co-founder of the DSC Prize said The winning novel highlights the changing dynamics in South Asian life and culture in a unique way.
The last five winners of the DSC Prize have been Jhumpa Lahiri (The Lowland:  Vintage Books/Random House, India), Cyrus Mistry (Chronicle of a Corpse Bearer: Aleph Book Company, India), Jeet Thayil (Narcopolis: Faber & Faber, London), Shehan Karunatilaka (Chinaman: Random House, India) and HM Naqvi (Home Boy: Harper Collins, India). Each of these winners has gone on to be published internationally and their work has reached a larger global audience which has been one of the central visions of the DSC Prize.

Read this year’s winner or one of the previous and find out for yourselves how great this literature is.

Monday, 4 January 2016

Books with meaning

Now I know all books have meaning, to any author or illustrator associated with them, to their editors and publishers but perhaps most of all to their readers ... and so with this in mind I have two very special books to recommend.

Both books are from Nosy Crow, a small, independent and very high quality publishers whose books each year are few but amazing.

The first book, a Christmas title with a supremely important message is linked to the ongoing refugee crisis and as such is Nosy Crow's way of doing something to help by raising money and also helping parents to address the difficult questions children may raise when they see the news coverage.

The book is incredibly moving, so beautifully written it will take your breath away and its text is so well matched to its illustrations that although the story may seem familiar it is also at once new and different.  No money will go to Nosy Crow if you buy this book, all those involved in its sale and distribution have waived their fees, and only the printing costs need to be covered which means £5 from each and every copy sold will go directly to War Child 

This is an important book not only this Christmas but throughout the year too, those who have children in the family or who work with children will find it moving and invaluable and I encourage you all to find a copy.

So what is its story? It is the Christmas story focusing on the fleeing of Jesus and his parents from the soldiers of Herod, into sanctuary in Egypt.  Told from the perspective of the donkey who carries them on their journey this is a clever, thoughtful, lyrical and beautiful book.

Another, completely different book from Nosy Crow yet still a very special one, is The Many Worlds of Albie Bright by Christopher Edge.   Published on 14th January this is a short insight for you into what promises to be an early hit in 2016.  I ma quite certain that this book will find its way into the hearts of children and adults alike with its honest and curious Albie searching for meaning after loosing his mother to her battle against cancer.  Whilst the book is amusing, easy to read and fun it is also serious at its heart and helps us all, adults and children alike, to understand how we can cope when we lose a loved one and also how the universe and quantum physics may have a bigger role to play than we could ever imagine!