The 2021 shortlist for the JCB Prize for Literature was announced early today by Mita Kapur, Literary Director of the Prize. The list includes Anti-Clock by V.J. James, translated from the Malayalam by Ministhy S. (Penguin Random House India, 2021), Name Place Animal Thing by Daribha Lyndem (Zubaan Publishers Pvt. Ltd., 2021), The Plague Upon Us by Shabir Ahmad Mir (Hachette India, 2020), Delhi: A Soliloquy by M Mukundan, translated from the Malayalam by Fathima E.V. and Nandakumar K. (Westland, 2020) and Gods and Ends by Lindsay Pereira (Penguin Random House India, 2021)
Commenting on the shortlist, the chair of the 2021 jury, Sara Rai said, “The five novels on this year’s shortlist speak in layered voices often laced with irony. Inventive and insightful they create disparate worlds, each a microcosm with larger resonances and significance. The anguish of Kashmir, the turbulence of ethnic conflict in the north-east, the disharmony of lives spent in narrow social and psychological confines, each with their specific difficulties – the novels dive deep into these particular, ordinary lives and come up having discovered in them the extraordinary.”
With COVID-19 restrictions slowly easing, the JCB Prize for Literature is back this year with new on-ground collaborations with stand-alone book stores and Blue Tokai Coffee Roasters that aim to provide a wider access to the novels across India and also create a one-on-one interaction between readers and books. Like earlier years, Amazon Books India is its official online partner, ensuring that the shortlisted books reach people in every corner of the country.
The winner will be announced on November 13, informed Kapur. “Things are looking up slowly and there are a few things that have kept us going through these times: empathy, love, art. The publishing industry has powered on in bringing a treasure trove of literature from all regions of India to the forefront to reach out to readers here and throughout the world. Now more than ever, we need to listen to the other, lose ourselves in a new story. These books will spirit you away to worlds unknown, yet familiar in the emotions each human heart shares with the other,” she added.