The much-awaited shortlist for The Hindu Prize for Best Fiction 2013 is finally out. The panel of distinguished judges has selected the five books from which the winner will finally be chosen. The panel comprised Malayalam poet, author and critic K. Satchidanandan, poet and writer Arundhathi Subramaniam, author Timeri N. Murari, surgeon and novelist Kavery Nambisan and writer and critic Geeta Doctor.

According to the judges, the number of entries for this year’s The Hindu Prize was overwhelming in its variety and diversity of tone and subject matter. “In narrowing the list down to the five shortlisted novels, we attempted to balance the delight in discovering new voices with the need to prod the conscience of a new generation with unsettling images and ideas that come under the mask of fiction,” says Geeta Doctor.

Describing the selection process, K. Satchidanandan says, “All the judges first went through the books and then each recommended the books they particularly liked to the others. In the process all the nominated books got carefully read. A detailed discussion took place during a meeting in Chennai in October. Discussions continued for three more weeks; several e-mails were exchanged and, after detailed deliberations, a consensus was arrived at which is reflected in the final shortlist of five books.”

The Hindu Prize 2013 will be announced on January 13, 2014, during The Hindu Lit for Life in Chennai. It comprises a cash component of Rs. 5 lakhs and a plaque.

Manu Joseph won the first The Hindu Prize for Best Fiction in 2010 for his debut novel Serious Men. In a strange coincidence, the subsequent prizes have also gone to debut novels: Rahul Bhattacharya’s The Sly Company of People Who Care (2011) and Jerry Pinto’s Em and the Big Hoom (2012).

On the Shortlist

The Illicit Happiness of Other People — Manu Joseph

Foreign — Sonora Jha

Roll of Honour — Amandeep Sandhu

Vanity Bagh — Anees Salim

Another Man's Wife and Other Stories — Manjul Bajaj

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