The Best First Novel Shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize 2013

HarperCollins Publishers India
is delighted to represent

The Other Side of Light
by Mishi Saran

for the best first novel
Shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize 2013

Online PR News – 27-April-2013 – Delhi – The Commonwealth Writers’ Prize is one of the world’s most important literary awards, presented annually by the Commonwealth Foundation. Commonwealth Writers inspires writers, storytellers and a range of cultural practitioners to work for social change. It builds communities of less heard and emerging voices to influence, directly and indirectly, the decision making processes which affect their lives.

The regional winners will be announced on 14 May 2013 and the overall winners at the Hay Festival on 31 May 2013. The overall winner receives £10,000 and regional winners receive £2,500.

The prize judging panel is made up of eminent members of the international literary community: Godfrey Smith Ι Goretti Kyomuhendo Ι Manu Joseph Ι Linda Leith Ι Esther Phillips Ι Martin Shaw

Commenting on the shortlisted entries, Chair of the Commonwealth Book Prize, Godfrey Smith, said, “Our five judges did an admirable job of shortlisting from a bountiful harvest of debut novels, based on originality, linguistic flair, depth, quality of writing and freshness of tone. A number of books boldly pushed the boundaries of form and explosively rebelled against the conventional structures of fiction-writing, inspiring lively and passionate debates among the judges.”

About The Other Side of Light:
One woman, two lovers, three best friends … The gift of an old camera sends young Asha careening in an unconventional direction. The call of photography makes her leave her family, her home, her friends and the intriguing Kabir to spend a year in a Swiss village learning to see the world through a lens.

But, back in Delhi, there is a price to pay. Life has moved on. Her three friends have wandered in new directions and her father is ill. Kabir has found new purpose in Assam.

Asha's search for love sends her on travels that culminate in a shocking turn of events she must learn to navigate.

In the background, a country too changes shape: the Emergency locks India into strife, the riots of 1984 unleash a dormant savagery, and separatist violence menaces Assam. Amidst the chaos, Asha finds the threads of a new beginning that once again will take her away from the land she loves.

Interwoven story lines unfold seamlessly as Asha packs away the photographs she took at key points in her life. Seeing and handling her past as captured through the craft she loves provokes a recollection that she hopes will allow her to let go for good.

Mishi Saran is the author of the best-selling book Chasing the Monk’s Shadow: A Journey in the Footsteps of Xuanzang, a chronicle of a year spent retracing a seventh-century Chinese Buddhist monk’s travels to India on the Silk Road. After a BA in Chinese Studies from Wellesley College, she was a journalist in Hong Kong, publishing widely in international media. Her short stories have won awards and been broadcast on the BBC.

Mishi Saran lives in Shanghai with her husband and daughter. She is working on her next novel, set in Shanghai in the 1930s.

The other titles in the shortlist are:
1. Sarah House, Ifeanyi Ajaegbo (Nigeria)
2. Disposable People, Ezekel Alan (Jamaica)
3. Floundering, Romy Ash (Australia)
4. Running the Rift, Naomi Benaron (Canada)
5. Mazin Grace, Dylan Coleman (Australia)
6. A Tiger in Eden, Chris Flynn (Australia)
7. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, Rachel Joyce (United Kingdom)
8. The Headmaster's Wager, Vincent Lam (Canada)
9. Island of a Thousand Mirrors, Nayomi Munaweera (Sri Lanka)
10. The Death of Bees, Lisa O'Donnell (United Kingdom)
11. The Spider King's Daughter, Chibundu Onuzo (Nigeria)
12. Em and the Big Hoom, Jerry Pinto (India)
13. The Wildings, Nilanjana Roy (India)
14. The Great Agony & Pure Laughter of the Gods, Jamala Safari (South Africa)
15. The Last Thread, Michael Sala (Australia)
16. God on Every Wind, Farhad Sorabjee (India)
17. Sterile Sky, E.E. Sule (Nigeria)
18. Narcopolis, Jeet Thayil (India)
19. Beneath the Darkening Sky, Majok Tulba (Australia)
20. The Bellwether Revivals, Benjamin Wood (United Kingdom)

For more details, please contact Ratna Joshi at, 0120-4044819.