Rahul Bhattacharya's book wins the day for its consummate artistry.
For the second successive year, a debut novel struck gold at The Hindu's “Lit for Life” literary festival. Rahul Bhattacharya bagged the ‘The Hindu Literary Prize for Best Fiction 2011' for his The Sly Company of People Who Care.
The book, which narrates a young Indian's Caribbean adventures in the company of a Guyanese diamond-hunter, was virtually deadlocked for the prize with the English translation of N.S. Madhavan's Litanies of Dutch Battery, but eventually won the day for “its consummate artistry, its refusal to exoticise India — or Guyana … and its non-judgmental attitude to the characters.
The award carries a cash prize of Rs. 5 lakh and a plaque.
Presenting the prize to the Delhi-based author, writer and MP Shashi Tharoor said it was important to support the efforts of The Hindu to celebrate good writing in English in fiction, especially as the challenge of getting people to read in an increasingly television-dominated culture was a formidable one.
In his acceptance speech, Mr. Bhattacharya, who is also a cricket writer, joked that he was feeling a bit like (Mohinder) Amarnath running through the West Indies line-up in 1983 (when India won the World Cup).