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May 16, 2007 at 02:14am IST

Dasgupta in race for top UK prize

New Delhi: Young India author Rana Dasgupta has been short-listed for Britain's National Short Story Prize, which is considered world's biggest award for a single short story.

Dasgupta is actually a British writer of Indian origin, who now lives in India. His first novel, Tokyo Cancelled, was published in 2005. Dasgupta has already sold film rights for his story.

Britain's National Short Story Prize, worth £15,000, was launched at the Edinburgh International Book Festival in 2005. For short story, this prize is equivalent to the Booker prize for novel.

BIG LEAPS: Rana Dasgupta published his first novel Tokyo Cancelled in 2005.

Billed as the richest short story competition in the world, the contest attracted more than 1,400 entries, between a-third and two-thirds more than its organisers expected. It is also 10 times the level of a Man Booker or Whitbread prize.

The runner-up of the competition will take home £3,000. The contest, indirectly funded by lottery money, is aimed at reviving interest in a genre in which Britain once led the world market.

Unlike the Scotsman and Orange Short Story Award, Britain's National Short Story Prize is open only to previously published writers.

Others in the shortlist are Michel Faber for his story The Safehouse, William Trevor, the Irish elder statesman who was knighted for services to literature in 2002, James Lasdun and Rose Tremain.

The first five shortlisted stories, each no more than 8,000 words and from writers with a record of publication, range in setting from Lagos to Cape Cod, Norfolk, Ireland and an unnamed city. Between them, the finalists have six films out or being made.