Two Indian writers, Manu Joseph and Prajwal Parajuly have been nominated for the long list of the Emile Guimet Prize, awarded annually to a book by an Asian author and translated into French.
The prestigious award is administered by the Emile Guimet Museum in Paris. Parajuly was nominated for Fuir et revenir, the translation of his widely acclaimed debut novel about a family reunion from hell, Land Where I Flee, and Delhi-based Joseph for Miss Laila armée jusqu’aux dents, published in English as Miss Laila Armed and Dangerous. The books’ translators are Benoîte Dauvergne and Bernard Turle respectively.
Parajuly is from Sikkim and had earlier written a book of short stories in 2013, A Gurkha’s Daughter which catapulted him to fame in India. He was praised for his original voice, and his simple story-telling style.
Land Where I Flee is Parajuly’s first novel, and its translation has been received well in France. It is a story of a reunion of three siblings with their family matriarch for her 84th birthday, an important landmark in Hindu-Nepali traditions. Domineering, her grandchildren had kept her at arm’s length and they dread the ceremony. The plot revolves around Parajuly’s well developed characters who we get to know intimately, and who are all microcosms of the subcontinental mindset.
2020 seems to be a good year to be an Indian writer, they have continued making news abroad after Avni Doshi’s Booker long listing.
The Emile Guimet long list this year also includes Pakistani writer Fatima Bhutto for Comme Des Lions. The winner will be announced at a ceremony in the Emile Guimet Museum in September. Previous winners have included British writer Rana Dasgupta, South-Korean author Hwang Sok-Yong and Natsu Miyashita from Japan.
Other writers on the 2020 long list are: Shion Miura (Japan), Cho Nam-Joo (South Korea), Shiga Izumi (Japan), Tsering Dondrup (Tibet), Fang Fang (China), Hye-Young Pyun (South Korea), and Liu Zhenyun (China).