JCB Prize for Literature 2019 shortlist announced 

BeyondHeadlines News Desk

New Delhi: Roshan Ali, Manoranjan Byapari, Perumal Murugan, Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar and Madhuri Vijay were shortlisted as the five authors for the 2019 JCB Prize for Literature. The shortlist was announced at Oxford Bookstore in the Capital recently by Pradip Krishen, Chair of the 2019 jury, and Rana Dasgupta, Literary Director of the Prize.

The shortlist was selected by a panel of five judges: Pradip Krishen, filmmaker and environmentalist (Chair), Anjum Hasan, author and critic, K.R. Meera, author, Parvati Sharma, author and Arvind Subramanian, economist and former Chief Economic Adviser to the Government of India.

The JCB Prize for Literature celebrates the very finest achievements in Indian writing. The JCB Prize for Literature was set up in 2018 to enhance the prestige of literary achievement in India and create greater visibility for contemporary Indian writing. The prize encourages translations and aims to introduce new audiences to works of Indian literature written in languages other than their own. It is funded by JCB and administered by the JCB Literature Foundation.

Commenting on the shortlist, the chair of the 2019 jury, Pradip Krishen, said, “Bringing voices from across the country, these novels address the many specific difficulties of living a life in Indian society. With a combination of lyricism and humour, the five novelists portray characters who are at odds with their very different worlds. Their private struggles help illuminate larger themes, including patriarchy in rural southern India, religious and political conflict in Kashmir, and social and sexual marginalization in eastern India. Taken together these novels remind us that fiction remains the most powerful way for a society to examine its fundamental concerns.”

Rana Dasgupta, Literary Director, added, “This year’s shortlist displays a satisfying diversity of voices. These five books transport us to very different parts of India and give us access to very different kinds of life. Each of them is imbued by the spirit of its moment which is perhaps why the shortlist has such an unsettled, turbulent flavour. But literature contains wisdom too, and the deep sense of justice in these books reminds us why, whatever our reality, we continue to care, hope and strive.”

Each of the five shortlisted authors will receive Rs 1 lakh; if a shortlisted work is a translation, the translator will receive an additional fifty thousand. The winner of the twenty-five lakh JCB Prize for Literature will be announced on November 2. If the winning work is a translation, the translator will receive an additional ten lakh.

2019 shortlist is:

  • Ib’s Endless Search for Satisfaction by Roshan Ali (Penguin Random House India, 2019)
  • There’s Gunpowder in the Air by Manoranjan Byapari, translated from the Bengali by Arunava Sinha

(Westland Publications, 2018)

  • Trial by Silence and Lonely Harvest by Perumal Murugan, translated from the Tamil by Aniruddhan

Vasudevan (Penguin Random House India, 2018)

  • My Father’s Garden by Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar (Speaking Tiger Publishing Private Limited, 2018)
  • The Far Field by Madhuri Vijay (HarperCollins India, 2019)

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