JCB 2020 Shortlist Announced, Debut Novels And Women Authors Dominate The List
The shortlist for the JCB Prize for Literature 2020, India’s richest literary awards, was announced on Friday, September 25, featuring five titles. The list is wonderfully dominated by three debut novels and three women authors who have made it to the top five, from the longlist announced in August. The winner, announced in November, will take home the coveted prize money of Rs 25 lakh. The other nominations on the shortlist will receive prize money of one lakh rupees each.
The announcement for the shortlist was made by JCB on social media with a video:
— The JCB Prize for Literature (@TheJCBPrize) September 25, 2020
The five titles featuring on this year’s JCB shortlist are:
- Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line, Deepa Anappara, Penguin Random House India
- Chosen Spirits, Samit Basu, Simon & Schuster India
- These, Our Bodies, Possessed by Light, Dharini Bhaskar, Hachette India
- Moustache, S Hareesh, translated from the Malayalam by Jayasree Kalathil, HarperCollins India
- Prelude to a Riot, Annie Zaidi, Aleph Book Company, 2019
Out of these, Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line, These, Our Bodies, Possessed by Light, and Moustache (translated into English from Malayalam) are debut novels. In case the final winner is a translated novel, JCB will award the translator additional prize money of Rs 10 lakh too.
Women Shine Through On The JCB Shortlist
Tejaswini Niranjana, the chair of the jury this year, said about the shortlist, “What the shortlisted books have in common is their ability to pull out tendencies from our contemporary socio-political world in India and represent them through intriguing characters, sparkling dialogue, and accomplished narration.”
Alongside literary fiction, the awards this year had also called for genre fiction to expand the author base. According to Vogue, Mita Kapur, Literary Director of JCB said, “Myth, dystopia, history, romance, technology, politics and family sagas—there’s something for every kind of reader.”
The names of women authors featured hold strong critical acclaim. Anappara’s Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line was also reportedly longlisted for this year’s Women’s Prize for Fiction, and a portion of the book won the Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize, the Bridport/Peggy Chapman-Andrews Award, and the Deborah Rogers Foundation Writers Award. Meanwhile, Zaidi, who is a journalist, is the winner of the Nine Dots Prize.
About The JCB Prize
Backed by the English construction manufacturing group JCB, the prize under the JCB Literature Foundation is an annual selection of India’s best author. This year marks the third edition of the JCB Prize, which was first instituted in 2018.
The jury for this year’s award consists of three women and two men. It includes noted translator Tejaswini Niranjana, who is known for her books Mobilizing India and Musicophilia in Mumbai, and Deepika Sorabjee, head of arts at Tata Trusts.