Tuesday, March 29, 2011

New South Asia Book Award

In American children's literature, books with South Asian themes and characters have always felt a little like an afterthought. And anyone who's ever heard me vent knows my reactions to the many titles that still get published today, representing the region and its people in ways that are at best dated and at worst chock full of errors. And as for the geography (where is that South Asia place anyway?) well, I've been amused to note that The Grand Plan to Fix Everything is starting to show up on some lists of books about the Middle East. Middle East? India? Really?

So I'm absolutely thrilled to hear that after many years of conversation, planning, and gathering resources, an idea that feels as if it's been percolating forever has finally become reality. SANOC (the South Asia National Outreach Consortium) has just announced an annual South Asia Book Award and formed the first ever committee to select the 2012 books from among titles published in 2011. The committee will pick one winning title. They may also designate up to five honor books and up to five titles to be included on a highly commended list that will call attention to outstanding works on South Asia.

The award will be given in recognition of a recently published work of fiction, non-fiction, poetry or folklore, from early childhood to secondary reading levels, published in the United States, Canada or United Kingdom, in English (translations into English will also be accepted) which accurately and skillfully portrays South Asia or South Asians in the diasporas, that is the experience of individuals living in South Asia, or of South Asians living in other parts of the world. The culture, people, or heritage of South Asia should be the primary focus of the story. 

The countries and islands that make up South Asia are: Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Maldives, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and the region of Tibet.

Additional details including downloadable submission guidelines can be found on the SANOC web site. Publishers, writers, readers, and anyone interested in the literature of this region and its diaspora, or even simply in making the literature of all children more inclusive, please pass the word on.

Finally, we're on the map!



10 comments:

  1. This will be an interesting award to follow!

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  2. So proud that you agreed to be my Mentor...Congrats Uma!

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  3. Great news...looking forward to watching this unfold and sharing with the SCBWI Asia regions.

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  4. Hey, let me clarify--I'm only announcing the institution of this award. So no congrats needed. But do tell writers you know with books out this year whose work may be eligible. We all want the committee to get a nice array of submissions.

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  5. Holly! How nice to hear from you. Yes, please pass the news along to writers in and from the region with books out this year in the US, UK or Canada.

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  6. This is wonderful. I am so happy and I already look forward to reading all of the winners! =D

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  7. Wonderful announcement! Grand to see an idea percolating for years come true. Here's to being on the map!

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  8. I had to laugh at the mention of India as part of the Middle East. I recently engaged in a debate with an otherwise well-informed Canadian blogger as to whether Vietnam was part of South Asia or southeast Asia; the blogger didn't see a difference. Yes, where is that South Asia place anyway?

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