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.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital 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.

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