Perumal Murugan, Paul Zacharia and Rajkamal Jha's novels make it to JCB Prize for Literature longlist 2019
Noted Tamil writer Perumal Murugan's twin novels, "Trial by Silence" and "Lonely Harvest" (Penguin Random House) and Malayalam author Paul Zacharia's maiden work in English "A Secret History of Compassion" (Westland) are among the 10 authors who feature in the longlist of the Rs 25 lakh JCB Prize for Literature 2019.
"The longlist we have chosen is varied, but all these books do what great fiction should: they take risks, they make arguments - and they touch a magic chord, one that keeps thrumming in your head and heart long after you've put the book away. It's impossible to generalise about these ten books," noted filmmaker Pradip Krishen, the jury chair. "Indian fiction today is a richly bewildering category, and this longlist is correspondingly varied and complex. These are novels about working-class struggles and upper-class unease, historical evocations and contemporary conflicts, each written in an absolutely distinctive voice," he added.
Krishen also regretted that several fine novels written in other languages were let down by poor translations. "As a jury, it was sad for us to have to reject novels for this reason."
The other members of the jury were author and critic Anjum Hasan; authors K.R. Meera and Parvati Sharma; and former Chief Economic Adviser to the Indian government Arvind Subramanian.
The other books on the 2019 longlist are:
* Ib's Endless Search for Satisfaction by Roshan Ali (Penguin Random House India, 2019)
* There's Gunpowder in the Air by Manoranjan Byapari, translated from the Bengali by Arunava Sinha (Westland Publications, 2018)
* The City and the Sea by Rajkamal Jha (Penguin Random House India, 2019)
* Milk Teeth by Amrita Mahale (Westland Publications, 2018)
* The Queen of Jasmine Country by Sharanya Manivannan (HarperCollins India, 2018)
* A Patchwork Family by Mukta Sathe (Speaking Tiger Publishing Private Limited, 2018)
* My Father's Garden by Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar (Speaking Tiger Publishing Private Limited, 2018)
* The Far Field by Madhuri Vijay (HarperCollins India, 2019)
The novels by Roshan Ali, Amrita Mahale, Mukta Sathe and Madhuri Vijay are all debuts.
The jury will announce the shortlist of five titles on October 4. The winner will be announced at the awards dinner on November 2. If the winning work is a translation, the translator will receive an additional Rs 10 lakh. Each of the 5 shortlisted authors will receive Rs 1 lakh; if a shortlisted work is a translation, the translator will receive Rs 50,000.
The longlist was chosen from a vast range of submissions by writers in fourteen states writing in six languages (Bengali, English, Hindi, Kannada, Tamil and Telugu) published between August 1, 2018 and July 31, 2019.