Saturday, 25th September 2021: The Neev Literature Festival announced the winners of the Neev Book Award 2021, India’s leading book award for showcasing and celebrating outstanding children’s literature, in a digital-award ceremony, inaugurated by India’s most loved author -Ruskin Bond. This year, Vinitha R for Ammu and the Sparrows (Early years); Nandita da Cunha for The Miracle of Sunderbaag Street (Emerging Readers); Devika Cariapa, William Dalrymple, Anita Anand for The Adventures of the Kohinoor (Junior Readers); and Devashish Makhija for Oonga (Young Adult) received the awards.
The afternoon began with an enriching conversation between legendary writer Ruskin Bond and Colin Kelman, jury member, Neev Book Award around ‘Ruskin’s stories, India stories’. Bond enthralled everyone in his inimitable style and spoke about his influences, creative choices, motives for writing, changes in the landscape, and his observations about writing for children in India. This was followed by invigorating and insightful panel discussions between the shortlisted authors, showcasing contemporary Indian stories set in a rapidly changing and rising India. The event was threaded together by enthusiastic student anchors and culminated with the announcement of the winners in the four categories. Each winner received a trophy, cash prize of Rs 1 lakh each and a citation.
Speaking on this occasion Kavita Gupta-Sabharwal, co-founder and curator, Neev Literature Festival, said, “Our jury curated a powerful shortlist of books in July 2021, that represents the many Ideas of India from publisher nominations, in four award categories – Early Years, Emerging Readers, Junior Readers and Young Adult. The four winners today are a great but hard choice.”
The Neev Book Award began in 2017 to find great Indian children’s books, and in the last four years the stories have rapidly moved beyond the traditional themes of adventure, mythology and nostalgia. “The Book Awards are an important part of our mission of getting a truly global curation to children, reflecting different identities including their own – this is essential to develop humanity, originality and imagination,” she added.
The jury included educators, writers, and teacher-librarians from across the globe – educators Colin Kelman, Dr Anuradha Ruhil Barua, Dr Dhooleka Raj and Dr Myra Garces-Bacsal; three writers Rasil Ahuja, Gita Vardarajan and Dr Kamakshi Murti and school librarians Katie Day and Nadine Bailey.