Author-journalist AS Panneerselvan chairs the jury for the 2022 JCB Prize for Literature
New Delhi, April 9 (IANS): Journalist and editor AS Panneerselvan is the chairman of the jury for the fifth edition of the Rs 25 lakh JCB Prize for Literature, India’s richest literary prize. The members of the jury are — Author Amitabha Bagchi, Author and Academician Rakhee Balaram, Historian and Academician Dr J Devika and Author Janice Pariat.
The jury represents a range of Indian languages and mediums between them and brings a diverse set of viewpoints to the task of selecting the best of Indian fiction.
The judging panel will announce the ten-title longlist on September 2 (subject to change), followed by the five-title shortlist on October 3. The winner will be declared at the awards ceremony in November, on a date to be determined. .
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 1 lakh; if a shortlisted work is a translation, the translator will receive Rs 50,000.
Commenting on this year’s judging panel, Mita Kapur, Literary Director of the JCB Literature Prize, said, “Every year at the JCB Literature Prize, we have the privilege of reading books born in different parts of the country, written in English and in Indian languages translated into English, created by emerging and established writers.
“To do justice to these myriad voices and worlds, the JCB Prize for Literature needs a jury as diverse and interesting as the books themselves. Our 2022 jury brings together writers, editors, historians of art and translators to contribute their nuanced assessment. With their vast experience and unique sensibilities, we are sure they will uncover gems that will be on every book lover’s must-read list,” Kapur added.
The 2021 JCB Prize for Literature has been awarded to ‘Delhi: A Soliloquy’ by M. Mukundan, translated from Malayalam by Fathima EV and Nandakumar K, and published by Westland.
Hailed as a contemporary Malayalam classic, it is a masterful novel about ordinary people whose lives and stories have seeped into the very soil and memories of Delhi.
It was the third time in four years and the second consecutive year that a Malayalam translation was so honoured.
Aiming to increase readership inclusiveness, the book has also been made available by the JCB Literature Foundation in a digital format accessible to anyone with visual impairments.
Other previous winners have been “Jasmine Days” by Benyamin (2018), translated from Malayalam by Shahnaz Habib, “The Far Field” by Madhuri Vijay (2019) and “Moustache” by S. Hareesh (2020), translated from Malayalam by Jayasree Kalathil.
“Being on the jury of a well-endowed literary prize is the best way to find out what’s going on in the world of letters and ideas,” said Panneerselvan.
“Fiction has a way of capturing the multiple hues of human experience that eludes purely journalistic or academic pursuit. The award has no artificial literary barriers such as language or region. The conscious decision to include translations really broadens the scope. The whole exercise of creating a long list, moving to a short list, and then finalizing the winner, is a celebration of South Asia’s pluralistic creative tradition,” he said. -he adds.
AS Panneerselvan is a journalist, editor and columnist. He directs the Center for Study in Public Sphere, Roja Muthiah Research Library in Chennai. He is also the author of ‘Karunanidhi: A Life’, a definitive biography of Mr Karunanidhi, and the editor of an anthology of essays, ‘Uncertain Journeys’. In 2022, the Government of Tamil Nadu awarded him the GU Pope Prize for his literary contributions. During his long media career, he has worked with several prestigious media houses and networks including the Sun Network, Outlook magazine and The Hindu among others. His next book is “Periodic Table of Tamil Modernity: 1858 to 1968”.
Amitabha Bagchi is the author of four novels. The first, “Above Average”, was a bestseller. Her second novel, ‘The Householder’, received critical acclaim, her third, ‘This Place’, was shortlisted for the 2014 Raymond Crossword Book Award, and her fourth, ‘Half the Night is Gone’, won the 2019 DSC Prize. for South Asian Literature and was shortlisted for the 2018 JCB Literature Prize. He has authored and published several research articles during his long career as a researcher and professor specializing in computer science.
Janice Pariat is the author of ‘The Nine-Chambered Heart’, ‘Boats on Land: A Collection of Short Stories’ and ‘Seahorse: A Novel’. She received the Young Writer Award from the Sahitya Akademi and the Crossword Book Award for Fiction in 2013. In 2014 she was Charles Wallace Creative Writing Fellow at the University of Kent and Writer-in-Residence at the TOJI Residence in South Korea . in 2019. Janice also teaches creative writing and art history at Ashoka University. His novel ‘Everything the Light Touches’ is forthcoming.
Rakhee Balaram is Assistant Professor of World Art and Art History at the University at Albany, State University of New York, where she specializes in modern and contemporary art. She is the author of Counterpractice: Psychoanalysis, Politics and the Art of French Feminism and 20th-Century Indian Art: Modern, Post-Independence, Contemporary. His curatorial work includes Fragility, an exhibition of contemporary Indian art. His research has been supported by the Art Histories Fellowship in Berlin, the ICI Berlin Institute of Cultural Inquiry, and the Tata SPEAR Fellowship, among others. Balaram holds a double doctorate in French literature from the University of Cambridge and in art history from the Courtauld Institute of Art.
Dr J Devika is a historian, feminist, social critic and academic. She currently does research and teaches at the Center for Development Studies. She has authored several books and articles on gender, politics, social reforms and development in Kerala in publications such as Kafila, Economic and Political Weekly and The Wire. She has translated fiction and non-fiction books between Malayalam and English, including translation of Nalini Jameela’s autobiography and short stories by KR Meera and Sarah Joseph.