Manu Joseph has bagged The Hindu Best Fiction Award 2010 for his debut novel Serious Men.
Writer and historian Nayantara Sahgal presented the award, which carries a cash prize of Rs.5 lakh and a plaque, to Mr. Joseph, who is the Deputy Editor of the Open magazine.
The award was instituted by The Hindu Literary Review as a prelude to celebrating its 20th year in 2011.
The winner was chosen from the 11 works shortlisted from 75 entries of Indian fiction writing in English.
Shashi Deshpande, novelist and juror for the award, said the jury decision was unanimous.
Serious Men was an “original and surprising novel” that ventured into the unusual area of science and institutional research, Ms. Deshpande said.
The book was a “wonderful read” and the author had avoided literary gimmicks in a narrative style where “everything is subordinated to the telling of the story,” she said.
In his acceptance speech, Mr. Joseph said “an award is only as good as its shortlist,” and that it was an honour for his book to be judged alongside the works of good writers.
The jury also comprised Mukul Kesavan, author and essayist; Brinda Bose, academic and critic; and Jai Arjun Singh, literary critic.
The shortlist was finalised by a panel of Chennai-based judges comprising Shreekumar Varma, novelist; K. Srilata, poet-academic; Parvathi Nayar, artist-critic; and Ranvir Shah, founder of the Prakiriti Foundation.
The event was sponsored by Ford along with associate sponsors Shriram Chits, VGN, Parker, UniverCell, reading partner Landmark, and TV partner NDTV Hindu.