The committee has today announced the shortlist for the JCB Prize for Literature 2019. This comes exactly one month after the longlist was declared. Out of 10 books (11 actually) that were longlisted, five (actually six) are now shortlisted for the prize. Each of the shortlisted authors will get a prize of 1 lac INR, and the corresponding translators will receive a sum of 50,000 INR.
For the uninitiated, the JCB Prize for Literature is awarded yearly to a distinguished work of fiction to an Indian writer. It entitles the winner to an amount of 25 lacs INR. If the winner is a work of translation, the translator will receive an additional 10 lacs INR.
JCB Prize for Literature 2019 shortlist
The shortlisted books, in no particular order, are:
Ib’s Endless Search for Satisfaction by Roshan Ali
“Ib’s Endless Search for Satisfaction” is a debut novel that covers the journey of self-reflection and the sadness that ensues. The deeply disturbing prose follows the protagonist as he tries to understand life and his role in it.
There’s Gunpowder in the Air by Manoranjan Byapari
Originally written in Bengali, “There’s Gunpowder in the Air” is translated to English by Arunava Sinha. It is set in the late 1960s West Bengal during the Naxalbari Movement. The book reflects on how the human ideals falter when pitched against deprivation and isolation.
A Lonely Harvest and Trial by Silence by Perumal Murugan
“A Lonely Harvest” and “Trial by Silence” are the two varied sequels to “One Part Woman”. They are both originally written in Tamil, and are translated to English by Aniruddhan Vasudevan. The JCB committee has decided to consider both these works as a single shortlisted entry, hence the total being only five when there are six different books actually shortlisted.
My Father’s Garden by Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar
“My Father’s Garden” narrates the story of an unnamed doctor as he goes through burdens of memory, expectations from family, love, need for companionship, and sexuality. It is divided in three sections, and seems to have been written with empathy and emotional intensity.
The Far Field by Madhuri Vijay
“The Far Field” critically examines the Indian politics and the class prejudices prevalent in the country. It is about a woman who sets out on a journey to find her late mother’s long lost friend.
Three out of the above five books have also been longlisted for DSC Prize 2019 for South Asian Literature.
What about the winner of the JCB Prize for Literature 2019?
The winner will be declared on November 2 this year.