Two novels in translation, two by debut women authors, two by established writers previously nominated for the Man Booker Prize, along with four other novels have made it to the longlist of the inaugural edition of the JCB Prize for Literature.
The longlisted books are: Half the Night is Gone (Amitabha Bagchi), Clouds (Chandrahas Choudhury), Jasmine Days (Benny Daniel/Benyam), Poonachi (Perumal Murugan), Jasoda (Kiran Nagarkar), When the Moon Shines by Day (Nayantara Sahgal), Latitudes of Longing (Shubhangi Swarup), The Book of Chocolate Saints (Jeet Thayil), and Empire (Devi Yesodharan). The award, launched earlier in 2018, was open to entries till May 31.
The jury consists of award-winning film director Deepa Mehta (Chair), entrepreneur and scholar Rohan Murthy, Yale University astrophysicist and writer Priyamvada Natarajan, novelist Vivek Shanbhag, and author and translator Arshia Sattar.
“The Prize exists to celebrate distinguished fiction by Indian writers. This longlist is a true celebration of the diversity and scope of contemporary Indian literature. “I am particularly happy that there are two very powerful translations on this list, and two debut authors too. I hope the Prize will help readers in India and around the world discover just how vibrant and ambitious are the novels being written here today,” Literary Director Rana Dasgupta said in a statement.
Of the ten books, the jury will shortlist five, which will be announced on October 3. “The five shortlisted writers receive Rs 1 lakh each. If the winning work is a translation, the translator receives an additional Rs 5 lakh,” the JCB Prize committee said in a statement.
The final award — carrying Rs 25 lakh — will be presented to the writer of the winning novel on October 27.