In April, publishers were invited to send in entries for the prize. The panel of distinguished judges — well-known authors K. Satchidanandan, Susie Tharu, Antara Dev Sen, Arshia Sattar and Pradeep Sebastian — has selected the six books from which the winner will finally be chosen.
According to K. Satchidanandan, the convenor of the jury, “The five members of the jury among them read the books that were submitted for consideration and exchanged notes evaluating the books they had read and also recommending those that they felt were worthy of the shortlist to one another. Each member finally prepared his/her own shortlist. There were many books that were common to all or most lists and some that had appeared only in one list. After a final round of discussion, we decided to choose six books that had appeared at least in two lists.”
The Shortlist and What the Judges Said
Flood of Fire by Amitav Ghosh
For its engagement with colonialism, its epic range of characters and events, threads, and its intellectual involvement.
Odysseus Abroad by Amit Chaudhuri
For its excellent prose, its humorous delineation of the immigrant experience, its quiet anger against the coloniser, its deep humanity.
Seahorse by Janice Pariat
For its retelling of the myth of Poseidon and Pelops as a beautiful coming-of-age tale, its lyrical intensity, its moving narration that makes the reader intensely aware of loss, rediscovery, love and healing
Sleeping on Jupiter by Anuradha Roy
For its evocative style, its critiques of violence, religious hypocrisy and exploitation, its conjuring up of a place where human emotions are played out in their diverse and contradictory incarnations.
The Patna Manual of Style by Siddharth Chowdhury
For its impish humour, its high readability, its understanding of small-town life in India, its irony and wit
When the River Sleeps by Easterine Kire
For its mythopoeic imagination, its spell-binding description of Nagaland — its landscape, beliefs, ways of life — and its beautiful narration of a loner’s battle against evil seduced by a mysterious dream
Meet the judges
K. Satchidanandan is a poet writing in Malayalam, translator, editor, playwright and bilingual critic and public intellectual. He has around 60 books in Malaylam of which 20 are collections of poetry. He has collections of poetry in 23 languages including English, Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Irish and Italian besides major Indian languages. He has won 32 literary awards besides the Knighthood of the Order of Merit from the Govt of Italy and is a Fellow of the Kerala Sahitya Akademi.
Arshia Sattar is a translator, book critic and teacher. She also runs the Sangam House International Writers’ Residency programme outside Bangalore.
Susie Tharu ’s most recent work is Towards A World of Equals , a bilingual textbook on gender for undergraduates in Telangana. She is also well-known as the co-editor of the two classic anthologies, Women Writing in India 600 B.C. to the Present and two dossiers of translations of recent Dalit writing from Tamil, Malayalam, Kannada and Telugu.
Pradeep Sebastian is the author of The Groaning Shelf , a collection of bibliophilic essays on the book arts. A literary columnist for The Hindu and a film columnist for the Deccan Herald , he is also the co-editor of 50 Writers, 50 Books: The Best of Indian Fiction . His forthcoming novel is a biblio-mystery titled The Book Hunters of Katpadi .
Antara Dev Sen is a well-known journalist and founder-editor of The Little Magazine, an independent journal of ideas and letters. She is also a literary critic, translator, a columnist and commentator on media, society, politics, culture and development. She has edited several books including the TLM Short Stories from South Asia series. She is also Managing Trustee of Pratichi, a trust working on education and health.