The newly-founded JCB Prize for Literature announced its very first longlist in Mumbai, on Wednesday. The prize, launched earlier this year with the intention of recognising a “distinguished work of fiction by an Indian writer”, is open to novels originally written in English as well as translations from other languages and comes with a cash prize of Rs 25 lakh for the winning author and Rs 5 lakh for the translator, if the winner is a translated work.
The titles on the longlist range from literary heavyweights such as Perumal Murugan to debut authors such as Shubhangi Swarup and two of the novels are translations from other languages (Malayalam and Tamil) translated into English.
The jury for this year’s prize consists of Rohan Murthy, founder of the Murty Classical Library, theoretical astrophysicist and author Priyamvada Natarajan, novelist and playwright Vivek Shanbhag, translator and scholar Arshia Sattar, and filmmaker Deepa Mehta, who is the chair the jury.
While announcing the longlist, Mehta said the novels were selected for their “powerful storytelling and unique view of the world”.
The ten titles on this year’s longlist are:
- Half The Night Is Gone, Amitabha Bagchi (Juggernaut)
- Jasmine Days, Benyamin, translated by Shahnaz Habib (Juggernaut)
- Clouds, Chandrahas Choudhury (Simon & Schuster)
- Poonachi, Perumal Murugan, translated by N Kalyan Raman (Westland)
- Jasoda, Kiran Nagarkar (HarperCollins)
- All The Lives We Never Lived, Anuradha Roy (Hachette)
- When The Moon Shines By Day, Nayantara Sahgal (Speaking Tiger)
- Latitudes of Longing, Shubhangi Swarup (HarperCollins India)
- The Book of Chocolate Saints, Jeet Thayil (Aleph Book Company)
- Empire, Devi Yesodharan (Juggernaut)
According to Mehta, all the members of the jury read each submission, totalling 60 titles and 15,000 pages.
The shortlist for the prize will be announced on October 3 in Delhi and the final winner will be revealed in an awards ceremony on October 27. The prize is funded by the construction manufacturing group JCB.