The winner will be announced at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London on Wednesday. Besides Ananthamurthy, other finalists are Aharon Appelfeld (Israel), Lydia Davis (USA), Intizar Husain (Pakistan), Yan Lianke (China), Marie NDiaye (France), Josip Novakovich (Canada), Marilynne Robinson (USA), Vladimir Sorokin (Russia), and Peter Stamm (Switzerland).
Dr Ananthamurthy was not available for comment as he had left for London to be present at the announcement and presentation ceremony. K Maralusiddappa, a prominent critic of Kannada, felt delight at Ananthamurthy’s name being shortlisted.
It was a welcome departure from the earlier “discrimination” meted out to Asian writers, he said. “Earlier, not even Asians were considered for such awards, but now, it was heartening to see that a Kannada writer has been shortlisted,” Maralusiddappa told Deccan Herald.
“The world is finally discovering the literary gems in the regional languages.”
Maralusiddappa said that Ananathamurthy was one of the very few to have given a proper direction to Kannada literature. His writings often erased the line between poetry and prose.
“For example, the short story ‘Suryana Kudure’ is sheer poetry,” he said. His novels and all writings have this distinct theme of identity and self discovery and it is through this journey of self discovery that he encounters the give and take, and the collision between modernity and heritage, Maralusiddappa observed.
He also added that Ananthamurthy was one of the best teachers in Karnataka to have a large student following as a tradition after Kuvempu and Thi Nam Srikantaiah.
“More than his literature, Ananthamurthy is also important that he is a public intellectual who has been fearless in his continued dialogue with the society and taking often politically incorrect stands, borne out of his insights.
Though there might be minor variations in his political stand, his holistic political stand remains unchanged and that is very significant in today’s times,” Marulasiddappa said. Ananthamurthy has published five novels, one play, eight short-story collections, three collections of poetry and eight more of essays, and his works have been translated into several Indian and European languages.