The winners will be announced at the awards ceremony in Chennai in April 2020
The much-awaited shortlists for The Hindu Prize 2019 Fiction and Non Fiction are out. Two independent panels of distinguished judges have selected five books in each category. The winners in two categories will be announced at the awards ceremony in Chennai in April 2020.
The Assassination of Indira Gandhi by Upamanyu Chatterjee, Tell Her Everything by Mirza Waheed, The Queen of Jasmine Country by Sharanya Mannivanan, Latitudes of Longing by Shubangi Swarup, and Heat by Poomani Kalyan Raman were the works shortlisted in the fiction segment.
Indian diplomat and author Navtej Sarna, Chairperson of the Fiction Prize Jury, said the process of arriving at the shortlist of books for the Fiction prize had been an enjoyable one spread over several months.
“The five judges have had a good chance to review the more than 80 submissions this year. After an initial face-to-face meeting [in person and over Skype] the judges have remained in interactive contact throughout. This enabled extensive exchange of views on several titles and highlighted particular recommendations for the attention of all. Last month, each of the judges sent in their preferred shortlists. The Chair then made a matrix of these shortlists and proposed a final unranked shortlist based on the votes received by various titles. All the judges then gave their specific assent to this shortlist,” he said.
The other members of the jury are Pradeep Sebastian, novelist and book critic; Nilanjana S. Roy, journalist, literary critic and author; J. Devika, social critic and faculty at the Centre for Development Studies, Thiruvananthapuram; and Rajeswari Soundararajan, Global Distinguished Professor in the Department of English, New York University.
In the non-fiction segment, Early Indians: The Story of Our Ancestors and Where We Came From by Tony Joseph, Polio: The Odyssey of Eradication by Thomas Abraham, The Transformative Constitution: A Radical Biography in Nine Acts by Gautam Bhatia, India, Empire, and First World War Culture by Santanu Das and The Anatomy of Hate by Revati Laul made it to the shortlist.
Kamini Mahadevan, Non Fiction Prize Jury Chair and former consulting editor of Penguin India, said submissions included deeply-researched historical biographies, contemporary memoirs and oral histories.
They also had books featuring sports, literature and phenomena like migration, investigative writings on ecology, disease and science, besides critical writings on current affairs, politics and law.
“The books have been selected for the significance and originality of their subject matter, the creative sweep of their narrative and the depth of their treatment. Their literary quality and their accessibility beyond experts have been important concerns. Their engagement with contemporary predicaments too has significance since they help cultivate a critical awareness about them. These books therefore richly contribute to the creation and shaping of public discourse on matters of cultural, political and economic relevance. They will endure and continue to enhance our understanding of their subjects,” she said.
The members of the jury include Chandan Gowda, faculty at Azim Premji University; Harsh Sethi, ex-Fellow at the Centre for Studies in Developing Societies; Rustom Bharucha, former professor of Theatre and Performance Studies at the JNU; and Shiv Viswanathan, social scientist and faculty at Jindal Global Law School.
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