New Delhi-based artist and oral historian Aanchal Malhotra’s book Remnants of Partition has been shortlisted for the British Academy’s non-fiction book prize – the Nayef Al-Rodhan Prize for Global Cultural Understanding.
The prize, worth £25,000 (approximately Rs 22.25 lakh), rewards works of non-fiction “that have contributed to global cultural understanding and illuminate the interconnections and divisions that shape cultural identity worldwide”.
The others who have been nominated are philosopher Julian Baggini for his book How the World Thinks: A Global History of Philosophy, philosopher and writer Kwame Anthony Appiah for his book The Lies That Bind: Rethinking Identity, historian and translator Julia Lovell for Maoism: A Global History, historian Toby Green for A Fistful of Shells: West Africa from the Rise of the Slave Trade to the Age of Revolution, and author and journalist Ed Morales for Latinx: The New Force in American Politics and Culture.
The jury said Malhotra’s work “offers an alternate history of the subcontinent through memories of unity echoed around handfuls of items carried between the new India and Pakistan”.
“Each of the writers nominated for this year’s prize encourages the reader to trace the remarkable ways in which ideas are transmitted beyond borders, dynasties and ages,” said historian and British Academy’s President Sir David Canadine.
The chair of the jury, Professor Ash Amin, said the six books shortlisted were far-reaching in scope, purpose and purchase. “Each beautifully crafted book has been chosen for its meticulous and original research,” he added. “It is a shortlist which we hope will spark curiosity, promote dialogue and inspire readers to look to other cultures to find answers to the big questions about the world today. These are the workings of great minds.”
In a tweet, Malhotra said she was “absolutely thrilled” to see her book on “this diverse and distinguished shortlist”. The winner will be announced at a ceremony at the British Academy in London on October 30.
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