The JCB shortlist for 2020 has been announced, and from the 10 books on the longlist, it has been trimmed to five. The list includes: Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line by Deepa Anappara, Chosen Spirits by Samit Basu, Moustache by S Hareesh (translated by Ayasree Kalathil), Prelude to a Riot by Annie Zaidi and These, Our Bodies, Possessed by Light by Dharini Bhaskar.
— The JCB Prize for Literature (@TheJCBPrize) September 25, 2020
During the selection of the longlist, Mita Kapur the literary director of JCB Prize for Literature had opined that the scope of the prize this year was expanded to include genre entries along with literary fiction. At the same time, translations too were sought and included to add more voices. “If you look for a common thread…you would be hard-pressed to find one. But at the end of the day, the reason why our jury has chosen these 10 books is simple: they imagine and they are unforgettable,” she had said.
“As we read through the large number of entries for this year, we established a comparative framework for evaluation which included these criteria – the texture, the plot of the narrative, how compelling the book was, its readability, the point of view of the characters and if the language of the character matches that point of view. The longlisted books this year do bring out the distinctive voice of each character and tell tales that are imaginative and powerful. The 2020 longlist provides us with fresh insights into the contemporary world we live in even if some of them are set in historical times. At the end the issue that remained with us during our final discussion was that of memorability. Whether it was the memorability of the plot itself, the memorability of the writing or that of the characters, which of these books do we remember?” she had further added.
The jury this year consisted of Tejaswini Niranjana, professor, cultural theorist, Deepika Sorabjee, head of the Arts & Culture portfolio at Tata Trusts, Aruni Kashyap, writer and translator and Ramu Ramanathan, playwright and director.
Each of the shortlisted authors will receive ₹ 1 lakh; and in case of a translated work, the translator will receive ₹50,000. The winner will be announced on November 7 and will be awarded ₹25 lakhs. If a translated work wins, then the translator will receive an additional ₹10 lakhs.
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