Madhuri Vijay’s debut novel The Far Field fetched the 27-year-old writer this year’s JCB Prize for Literature this Saturday. Besides receiving Rs 25 lakh as the prize money, the author also received a sculpture by Delhi-based artist duo Thukral & Tagra, titled Mirror Melting. The novel is set against the backdrop 1990’s Kashmir conflict.

Jury Citation

“The Far Field is an impressively ambitious novel of stunning emotional and psychological acuity. This deeply introspective story, located in troubled Kashmir, is also a panoramic exploration of our ideas and assumptions about nationhood. Rendered in visually evocative, lucid prose, and driven by a fragile but compelling narrator-protagonist, this tragic novel teems with unforgettable characters. We are proud to celebrate the arrival of a luminous new talent in Indian literature.”

The JCB Prize for Literature is presented each year to a distinguished work of fiction by an Indian writer, as selected by the jury. This year’s prize goes to Madhuri Vijay for her debut novel- the far Field

The Storyline

Her novel revolves around one young woman’s search for a lost figure from her childhood. Her journey carries her from southern India to Kashmir and to the brink of a devastating political reckoning.

In an interview with Indian Express, she said, “When I was thinking about becoming a writer, back in 2010, I wrote a short story. It revolved around a mother, daughter and a Kashmiri man who comes to sell clothes in Bengaluru. It was then that these characters appeared in my head and stayed, and I wanted to write more about them. While writing about them, I started to think about Kashmir and why no one is talking about any of it when it was happening with such intensity for over two decades.”

Ms Vijay did her MFA from Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Her writing been published in Best American Non-required Reading, Narrative Magazine and Salon, among other publications.

Also: Indian writer Annie Zaidi wins $100,000 Nine Dots Prize

Know more about the prolific writer

Ms Vijay did her MFA from Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She is also the recipient of a Pushcart. Her work has been published in Best American Non-required Reading, Narrative Magazine and Salon, among other publications.

Born and brought up in Bengaluru, she now lives in Hawaii. She is working as a school teacher there.

What is JCB prize for Literature

The JCB Prize for Literature is presented each year to a distinguished work of fiction by an Indian writer, as selected by the jury.

The 2019 jury comprised author and critic Anjum Hasan, economist and former Chief Economic Adviser to the Government of India Arvind Subramanianauthors, K R Meera and Parvati Sharma and filmmaker and environmentalist Pradip Krishen.

The other books shortlisted for this year’s JCB Prize for Literature are Manoranjan Byapari’s There’s Gunpowder in the Air , Perumal Murugan’s twin novels Trial by Silence and Lonely Harvest, Roshan Ali’s Ib’s Endless Search for Satisfaction, and Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar’s My Father’s Garden.

Also: JCB Prize For Literature Has Prominent Women Authors In Its Longlist

pic credits: The Great Kashmir

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