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4 debut novels among 10 in longlist for 2019 JCB Prize for Literature

4 debut novels among 10 in longlist for 2019 JCB Prize for Literature

India Blooms News Service | @indiablooms | 04 Sep 2019, 10:42 pm

Kolkata, Sep 04 (UNI) The longlist for the 2019 JCB Prize for Literature was announced on Wednesday which includes four debut novels.

The list of ten novels was selected by a panel of five judges: Pradip Krishen, filmmaker and environmentalist (Chair), Anjum Hasan, author and critic, authors K.R. Meera and Parvati Sharma, and Arvind Subramanian, economist and former Chief Economic Adviser to the Government of India, according to a spokesperson of the JCB prize for Literature.

The longlist was chosen from a vast range of submissions by writers in fourteen states writing in six languages (Bengali, English, Hindi, Kannada, Tamil and Telugu) published between August one, 2018 and July 31, 2019. The JCB Prize for Literature is awarded each year to a distinguished work of fiction by an Indian writer.  The winner receives Rs 25 lakh. The winner will be announced on November two.

The 2019 longlist 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)

The City and the Sea by Rajkamal Jha (Penguin Random House India, 2019)

Milk Teeth by Amrita Mahale (Westland Publications, 2018)

The Queen of Jasmine Country by Sharanya Manivannan (HarperCollins India, 2018)

Trial by Silence and Lonely Harvest by Perumal Murugan, translated from the Tamil by Aniruddhan Vasudevan (Penguin Random House India, 2018)

A Patchwork Family by Mukta Sathe (Speaking Tiger Publishing Private Limited, 2018)

My Father's Garden by Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar (Speaking Tiger Publishing Private Limited, 2018)

The Far Field by Madhuri Vijay (HarperCollins India, 2019)

A Secret History of Compassion by Paul Zacharia (Westland Publications, 2019)

The novels by Roshan Ali, Amrita Mahale, Mukta Sathe and Madhuri Vijay are all debuts.

Commenting on the longlist for 2018, the chair of the 2019 jury, Pradip Krishen, said, "We on the jury had a wonderful time discussing these books together.  The longlist we have chosen is varied, but all these books do what great fiction should: they take risks, they make arguments - and they touch a magic chord, one that keeps thrumming in your head and heart long after you’ve put the book away. It's impossible to generalise about these ten books.  Indian fiction today is a richly bewildering category, and this longlist is correspondingly varied and complex. These are novels about working-class struggles and upper-class unease, historical evocations and contemporary conflicts, each written in an absolutely distinctive voice."

"All of us on the jury were struck by the quantity of historical fiction currently being written.  Indian history is now, like never before, the inspiration for novels that address the concerns of the present – painful memories of colonialism, the costs of nation building, the divisiveness of caste and religion, and the need to see the world through the eyes of women.  As readers, we wondered what this said about the current zeitgeist," he said.

"It seemed that the very best of today's novelists are impatient with the old political pieties.  The problems of contemporary Indian life are often too stark and amoral to be resolved in such simple ways.  Many of the books we selected for the longlist expressed powerful hopelessness, irrevocable damage. Characters are constantly trying to resist a malevolent reality of which, nonetheless, they are fully a part.  It is fascinating that in three of these novels, for instance, narrators get college admissions not on merit but thanks to family members pulling strings," Kishen explained.

"Finally, it is difficult not to remark that several fine novels written in other languages were let down by poor translations.  As a jury, it was sad for us to have to reject novels for this reason," he regretted.

Rana Dasgupta, Literary Director, said, "It has been fascinating to watch the five members of the jury read and discuss the very large and varied body of entries we had for the 2019 Prize.  All of them have demanding expectations of contemporary literature, and they debated with enormous passion. Their search for literary excellence has produced an extremely varied list, which takes us to very different aspects of the contemporary Indian experience.  There are many treasures in this list, and I encourage everyone who wishes to understand what 2019 means to spend time exploring it.'

The jury will announce the shortlist of five titles on October four, the spokesperson added.  The winner of the Rs 25 lakh award will be announced at the awards dinner on November two.  If the winning work is a translation, the translator will receive an additional Rs 10 lakh.  Each of the five shortlisted authors will receive Rs one lakh. If a shortlisted work is a translation, the translator will receive Rs 50,000.

The 2018 JCB Prize for Literature was awarded to Jasmine Days by Benyamin, translated from the Malayalam by Shahnaz Habib and published by Juggernaut Books. 


4 debut novels among 10 in longlist for 2019 JCB Prize for Literature

India Blooms News Service
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