The JCB Prize for Literature, India’s richest literary award, announced the jury for this year’s edition on Wednesday. Set up in 2018, the Rs 25-lakh prize aims to “enhance the prestige of literary achievement in India and create greater visibility for contemporary Indian writing”.
This year’s prize will be awarded by a jury comprising economist and former Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian, authors KR Meera and Parvati Sharma, literary critic and author Anjum Hasan, and environmentalist and filmmaker Pradip Krishen, who will chair the jury.
Kishen said he was “honoured and immensely pleased at this extraordinary opportunity to peer deeply into a year’s worth of Indian fiction”, adding that the prize’s focus on translations from other Indian languages to English was “especially gratifying”.
Rana Dasgupta, literary director of the prize said the members of the 2019 jury are “all passionate readers, very eminent within their respective fields, and I think they will have fascinating debates about the books we send in their direction”.
The 2018 prize was awarded to Malayalam writer Benyamin’s novel Jasmine Days, translated to English by Shahnaz Habib. The novel tells the story of Pakistani radio jockey Sameera Parvin who is caught in the throes of the Arab Spring in an unnamed West Asian city.
The entries for this year’s prize will close on April 30. The jury will announce a longlist of 10 titles on September 4, a shortlist of five titles on October 4 and the final winner on November 2. Apart from the Rs 25-lakh prize for the author, if the winning title is a translation, the translator will be awarded an additional Rs 10 lakh.
The prize is funded by the construction manufacturing group JCB.