JCB Prize for Literature announces the shortlist for 2021

Two Malayalam translations in the shortlist

The 2021 shortlists announced by JCB Prize for Literature
The 2021 shortlists announced by JCB Prize for Literature

The JCB Prize for Literature celebrates the very finest achievements in Indian writing. Each year, it is presented to a distinguished work of fiction by an Indian writer, as selected by the jury. The 2021 shortlists, as announced by Mita Kapur, literary director of the Prize, across the JCB Prize for Literature’s social media platforms is —

  • Anti-Clock by V.J. James, translated from the Malayalam by Ministhy S. (Penguin Random House India, 2021) 
  • Name Place Animal Thing by Daribha Lyndem (Zubaan Publishers, 2021) 
  • The Plague Upon Us by Shabir Ahmad Mir (Hachette India, 2020)
  • Delhi: A Soliloquy by M. Mukundan, translated from the Malayalam by Fathima E.V. and Nandakumar K. (Westland, 2020) 
  • Gods and Ends by Lindsay Pereira (Penguin Random House India, 2021)

Commenting on the shortlist, the chair of the 2021 jury, Sara Rai, said, “Presenting a cross-section of the multiple diversities in India, the five novels on this year’s shortlist that speak in layered voices are often laced with irony. Inventive and insightful in the way only literature can be, they create disparate worlds, each a microcosm with larger resonances and significance. The anguish of Kashmir, the turbulence of ethnic conflict in the northeast, the disharmony of lives spent in narrow social and psychological confines, each with their specific difficulties – the novels dive deep into these particular, ordinary lives and come up having discovered in them the extraordinary.”    

With Covid-19 restrictions slowly easing, the Prize is back this year with new on-ground collaborations with stand-alone book stores and Blue Tokai Coffee Roasters to provide wider access to the novels across India and create a one-on-one interaction between readers and books. The JCB Prize for Literature is also collaborating with Amazon Books India for the fourth year in a row as its official online partner to ensure that the shortlisted books reach people in every corner of the country. 

Talking about the collaboration Pragya Sharma, director, media Amazon India, said, “We are delighted to collaborate with JCB Prize for Literature as their official online bookstore partner. The award is a trustworthy and prestigious source for recognizing distinguished work of fiction by Indian writers. We are working together to nurture a passion for reading in India and are excited to bring high-quality, diverse books from the award longlist for our customers.”

With the winner to be decided soon, Mita Kapur said, “Things are looking up slowly, and there are a few things that have kept us going through these times – empathy, love, art. The publishing industry has powered on in bringing a treasure trove of literature from all regions of India to the forefront to reach out to readers here and throughout the world. Now more than ever, we need to listen to the other, lose ourselves in a new story. These books will spirit you away to worlds unknown, yet familiar in the emotions each human heart shares with the other.”

Each of the five shortlisted authors will receive Rs 1 lakh; if a shortlisted work is a translation, the translator will receive an additional Rs 50,000. The winner of the Rs 25 lakh JCB Prize for Literature will be announced on 13th November 2021. If the winning work is a translation, the translator will receive an additional Rs 10 lakh.

About the JCB Prize for Literature 

The JCB Prize for Literature was set up in 2018 to enhance the prestige of literary achievement in India and create greater visibility for contemporary Indian writing. The prize encourages translations and aims to introduce new audiences to works of Indian literature written in languages other than their own. It is funded by JCB and administered by the JCB Literature Foundation.


2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

Subscribe Now


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here