Good writing may not be about winning prizes, but prizes do help. The Commonwealth Prize has the potential to help greatly. Apart from the purse of £10,000 that it carries, and the pleasure of tea with Her Majesty the Queen (Elizabeth II), there’s also the very big bonus of recognition in the Commonwealth countries. That’s 54 countries scattered around the planet.
This year, like the Games, the literary event too is in India. It is being organised by literary agent Siyahi which put
together the Jaipur Lit Fest till 2008.
No Indian has made it to the shortlist. But Rana Dasgupta, a British citizen of Indian origin, whose second book, Solo, is the regional winner for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize 2010 Best Book (South Asia and Europe), is in the running for the prize.
The run-up to the prize ceremony starts April 7 and is packed with events open to everybody. “From academics to children in NGOs, we wanted to include a cross-section of society,” says Mita Kapur, CEO, Siyahi. “All our events involve the youth because if we don’t turn them into readers we lose out.”
Here’s a pick of interesting sessions: How is contemporary fiction informed by traditional forms? at University of Delhi, South Campus; Globalisation, writing and the right to be read at the British Council, CP; Popular culture and the media: hooking the new reader at the India International Centre; Writing and Social change at Jamia Millia Islamia University and The Rule is there is no Rule: Writing for Self-Expression at the Crossword Bookstore, Rajouri Garden.