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There seems to be a literary prize on offer at every turn of the page these days. While some might turn up their noses at the “moneyfication” of books and writing, prizes do matter, as the Booker-shortlisted author, Jeet Thayil, put it at a t2 event recently: “It’s good to win a prize because it’s a kind of confirmation that someone other than you and your mother had read the book.”

Well, now even yet-to-be-published writers can ensure that someone other than those they have badgered into reading their manuscripts read their work, thanks to the Tibor Jones South Asia Prize. What’s more, the next edition of the prize will be announced in Calcutta, at the Apeejay Calcutta Literary Festival in January 2013.

Started in 2012, the Tibor Jones South Asia Prize is given out by Tibor Jones & Associates, a leading London-based literary agency that represents authors like Wilbur Smith and the architect Rem Koolhaas, with the support of the University of East Anglia (UEA) to encourage budding and unrepresented writers in South Asia.

“Open to all writers with a South Asia connect, the prize is for fiction only... full-length novels, not short stories,” clarified Sirish Rao, administrator of the Tibor Jones South Asia Prize. The winner will be awarded Rs 1 lakh, along with a literary representation by Tibor Jones & Associates. Entrants are also encouraged to apply for the Charles Pick Fellowship at UEA, which includes a cash award of 10,000 and a six-month stint at the university, located in Norwich, UK.

The next winner will be announced on January 10, 2013, as part of the Apeejay Lit Fest, which will be in its fourth year.

“We are very happy to associate with the Tibor Jones South Asia Prize. Apeejay and the Oxford Bookstore have had a nine-decade-long history of interactions with writers and publishers and we are confident that such a prize would greatly benefit aspiring writers to reach beyond boundaries,” said Maina Bhagat, the director of Apeejay Oxford Bookstore.

“We’ve always encouraged long-term partnerships aimed at nurturing new writing,” she added, pointing out that in its inaugural year, the prize was associated with Foyles, an old and prestigious bookstore in England.

Asked about the decision to announce the prize in Calcutta, Rao said: “Calcutta has always been a model of what a reading public should be. And the Oxford Bookstore has such a long and rich literary history and the Apeejay Literary Fest is very warm and welcoming.” He added that not just the winner, the prize also gave the shortlisted authors a great boost of confidence.

The judging process will be chaired by Delhi-based publisher and writer Urvashi Butalia along with four jury members from the literary circuit. In its first year, author Amit Chaudhuri had chaired the judges’ panel. Over 80 manuscripts had been submitted and Srikumar Sen and Rohit Manchanda were announced as joint winners. Srikumar Sen’s winning work, The Skinning Tree, is scheduled to be published by Picador India next month.

Submission of manuscripts is open till November 12.

What: Tibor Jones South Asia Prize 2013.
Open to: Unpublished novels with a South Asia connect.
The prize: Rs 1 lakh, plus literary representation by Tibor Jones & Associates.
When: The prize will be announced on January 10, 2013, as part of the Apeejay Calcutta Literary Festival.
Deadline: Entries are open till November 12.