Advertisement
Tuesday, Jul 05, 2022
Outlook.com
Outlook.com

Jury For India's Richest Literary Prize Prefers Emerging Voices Over Veteran Writers

Veteran writers like Nayantara Sahgal, Kiran Nagarkar and Jeet Thayil have been overlooked by the jury while shortlisting for the JCB Prize for Literature.

Jury For India's Richest Literary Prize Prefers Emerging Voices Over Veteran Writers
| File Photo
Jury For India's Richest Literary Prize Prefers Emerging Voices Over Veteran Writers
outlookindia.com
2018-10-03T17:28:07+05:30

The shortlisted novels are "Half The Night Is Gone" by Amitabha Bagchi, "Jasmine Days" by Benny Daniel (translated from Malayalam original by Shahnaz Habib); "Poonachi" by Perumal Murugan (translated from Tamil original by N. Kalyan Raman); "All the Lives We Never Lived" by Anuradha Roy and "Latitudes of Longing" by debutante Shubhangi Swarup. 

In a welcome move, all five novels are by emerging voices, who are gaining both readership and critical acclaim in recent times. Murugan is fast emerging as the most authentic voice from the Indian hinterland; Anuradha Roy's surreal prose is winning critical acclaim from both readers and critics; and, among others, Shubhangi Swarup stunned the literary space with her well-researched and minutely crafted debut work of fiction. 

The prize has also recognised the vast spread of literature in Indian languages as two out of five novels are translated works. In announcing the shortlist at the Oxford Bookstore, the prize further affirmed its commitment to promoting physical bookstores in the face of their prolonged downfall since the rise of e-commerce platforms like Amazon and Flipkart. 

But on the flip side, all the novels in the shortlist are from mainstream publishers: two from Juggernaut Books; and one each from Westland Publications, Hachette India and HarperCollins India. Not a single novel competing for the prize is from a smaller press, which, according to several publishing insiders, are on a rapid decline in India. 

Publishing giant Penguin Random House India, otherwise in the tally of most national and international literary awards, did not feature in the list at all. 

Jeet Thayil's highly acclaimed "The Book of Chocolate Saints", with praise from the likes of Salman Rushdie, too failed to make the cut. 

Apart from Thayil's, the other novels from the longlist that the judges overlooked are: "Empire" by Devi Yesodharan; "Clouds" by Chandrahas Choudhury; "When The Moon Shines by Day" by Nayantara Sahgal; and "Jasoda" by Kiran Nagarkar. 

The jury consists of novelist Vivek Shanbhag (Chair), entrepreneur and scholar Rohan Murthy, Yale University astrophysicist and writer Priyamvada Natarajan and author and translator Arshia Sattar. Film director Deepa Mehta, who was earlier chairing the panel, had to "retire from her position" due to "unforeseen professional commitments". 

The winner will be declared on October 24, and will receive Rs 25 lakh. If the winning work is a translation, the translator will receive an additional Rs five lakh. 

 IANS

Advertisement

Outlook Newsletters

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Read More from Outlook

Lament Of Separation: Songs Of Habba Khatun, Last Queen Of Kashmir, Still Echo In Valley

Lament Of Separation: Songs Of Habba Khatun, Last Queen Of Kashmir, Still Echo In Valley

In happy times and sad, Habba Khatun’s sensuous songs make both young and old emotional. With the never-ending conflict bringing tragedies to every doorstep, Habba’s lyrics of separation amplify their mourning.

How Indian Laws Govern People’s Right To Love And Live

How Indian Laws Govern People’s Right To Love And Live

In India, only those relationships between a man and a woman are considered to be legitimate when there is a marriage between the two.

Kohli Quits Test Captaincy, Leaves Leadership Vacuum

Kohli Quits Test Captaincy, Leaves Leadership Vacuum

Virat Kohli, 33, had recently stepped down as India's T20I captain and was subsequently removed as the ODI captain.

UP Elections 2022: How Congress Is Harnessing Power Of 'Persecuted' Women To Counter BJP

UP Elections 2022: How Congress Is Harnessing Power Of 'Persecuted' Women To Counter BJP

A Mahila Congress leader, who is the face of the ‘Ladki Hoon, Lad Sakti Hoon’ campaign, however, has accused the party of anti-women bias after she was denied a ticket.

Advertisement