Pulitzer-winning author Jhumpa Lahiri and Pakistani journalist Mohammed Hanif have been shortlisted or the 2009 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for their latest works on fiction.
Lahiri and Hanif pipped Sashi Deshpande and Murzaban Shroff who were nominated from India for the “Best Book” from Europe and South Asia respectively.
A six-judge international panel would decide the winner at the Auckland Writers’ and Readers Festival in New Zealand on May 16.
Indian-American Lahiri’s “Unaccustomed Earth”, which chronicles immigrant experience, beat Salman Rushdie’s “Enchantress of Florence” and Deshpande’s “the Country of Deceit” among total six contenders which also included authors David Lodge, Philip Henser and Chris Cleave, all from UK.
Hanif’s “A Case of Exploding Mangoes” was chosen the “Best First Book” from South Asia over Shroff’s “Breathless in Bombay” and four other contenders from the region.
Both Lahiri and Hanif are poised to enter the final phase of the competition with other six finalists from Africa, Canada and the Caribbean, South East Asia and the South Pacific for the over all Best Book and Best First Book awards, which will receive cash awards of 10,000 pounds and 5,000 pounds.