Three debut authors, two Malayalam translations make it to 2021 JCB Prize Awards shortlist

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The 2021 JCB Prize shortlist that was announced on Monday is dominated by debut novels with three of the five nominated books being written by first time authors. The debut works on the list include “Name Place Animal Thing” by Daribha Lyndem, “The Plague Upon Us” by Shabir Ahmed Mir, and “Gods and Ends” by Lindsay Pereira.

The Rs 25 lakh-prize is awarded each year to a distinguished work of fiction by an Indian writer. It is the most expensive Indian award for writing.

The list also features two works of translation – “Anti-Clock” by V J James, and “Delhi: A Soliloquy” by M Mukundan, both of which have been translated from Malayalam.

The five books were chosen from a longlist of 10 books that was announced last month.

The jury of five judges included author and literary translator Sara Rai (Chair), designer and art historian Annapurna Garimella, author and translator Shahnaz  Habib, journalist and editor Prem Panicker, and writer and podcaster Amit Varma.

“Presenting a cross section of the multiple diversities in India, the five novels on this year’s shortlist speak in layered voices often laced with irony. Inventive and insightful in the way only literature can be, they create disparate worlds, each a microcosm with larger resonances and significance.

“The anguish of Kashmir, the turbulence of ethnic conflict in the north-east, the disharmony of lives spent in narrow social and psychological confines, each with their specific difficulties – the novels dive deep into these particular, ordinary lives and come up having discovered in them the extraordinary,” said Rai.

Each of the five shortlisted authors will receive Rs 1 lakh, and in case of a translated work, the translator will also receive Rs 50,000.

“Things are looking up slowly and there are a few things that have kept us going through these times: empathy, love, art. The publishing industry has powered on in bringing a treasure trove of literature from all regions of India to the forefront to reach out to readers here and throughout the world.

“Now more than ever, we need to listen to the other, lose ourselves in a new story. These books will spirit you away to worlds unknown, yet familiar in the emotions each human heart shares with the other,” said literary director Mita Kapur.

The final winner of the Rs 25 lakh Prize will be announced on November 13. In case the winning entry is a translation, the translator will be awarded Rs 10 lakh.

Source – The Economic Times

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