Third JCB prize in a row for DC Books’ Malayalam originals

JCB Prize for M Mukundan's Delhi: A Solloquy

DC Books JCB Award
Kerala publisher DC Books authors have won the JCB literary award again

M Mukundan, the acclaimed author from Kerala was announced as the winner of this year’s JCB Prize, for Indian writing – the most coveted Indian literary award, on 13 November 2021. Originally published as Delhi Gathakal by DC Books in 2011, Delhi: A Soliloquy is the third translation from Malayalam that has won the JCB Prize after S Hareesh’s Moustache which won the JCB Prize in 2020 and Benyamin’s Jasmine Days, which was the JCB winner in 2018.

Delhi: A Soliloquy wins the 2021 JCB Prize for Literature
Delhi: A Soliloquy wins the 2021 JCB Prize for Literature

By winning the JCB Prize back to back, Malayalam literature has again shown vitality and creativity and maintained its position as one of the best in Indian literature. It is surprising that the original texts of all these Malayalam translations that brought “India’s most esteemed literature prize” to Kerala thrice, were published by DC Books.

Since the inception of JCB Prize in 2018, this is the third time in the ensuing four years that DC Books have won the award. The renowned Kerala book publishing has always been particular (some would say peculiar) in selecting and presenting literary work to the bibliophiles in Kerala. It has consistently

and significantly contributed to the publishing landscape by delving in a wide variety of genres. Not only classics by eminent authors, but also modern, experimental and socially relevant works are regularly published by DC Books.

The first JCB Award was given to Benyamin in 2018 for Jasmine Days, the translation of his Malayalam novel Mullappo Niramulla Pakalukal. Moustache, an English translation of S Hareesh’s famous novel Meesha, published by DC Books, won the JCB Award in 2020. By bringing ‘India’s richest literature prize’ to Kerala thrice, DC Books is again recognized for it quality. Anti-Clock by VJ James published by DC Books was also one of the 5 shortlisted books for JCB Prize 2021. The continuing journey inspires both authors and international readers to look forward to books from Kerala in the future too and for the likelihood of these being available in translation as well.

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

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