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’Pakistan’s literary scene not good, infrastru cture lacking’

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  12 Jan 2015 12:00 AM GMT

New Delhi, January 11: There is “not much of a literary scene in Pakistan and the infrastructure is underdeveloped with only a handful of English publishers”, says author Bilal Tanweer, adding that a few in the Urdu press are doing excellent work but they need more help. His book “The Scatter Here is Too Great” has been shortlisted for the DSC Prize for South Asian literature 2015 whose winner will be announced during the Jaipur Literature Festival on January 22. “The quality of book production in Urdu is much better than in English. I don’t think any of the publishers in English are up to intertiol standards,” Tanweer told IANS in an e–mail interview. Asked if it was possible to make a living as an author in Pakistan, Tanweer said: “It depends on what kind of a writer you are. If you are writing for television, yes, you can earn enough ... but most literary writers have other jobs. The exception is in some wealthy cultures which extend enough support to their artists to devote themselves full–time to their work. But they are the exception not the norm.” Along with Tanweer, Pulitzer Prize–winning author Jhumpa Lahiri (“The Lowland”), London–based Pakistani author Kamila Shamsie (“A God in Every Stone”), London–based Sri Lankan author Romesh Gunesekera (“Noontide Toll”) and India’s Shamsur Rahman Faruqi (“The Mirror of Beauty”) have been shortlisted for the $50,000 prize. Among these, Faruqi’s novel is the only translation. The award, in its fifth year, is a coveted prize that honours the best literary gems from South Asian writing or a novel translated into English. The winners so far have been an eclectic mix of authors from India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, reaffirming the jury’s credibility of seeking voices that represent culture, chaos and conflict engulfing the region. (IANS)

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