Women writers dominate JCB Prize for Literature longlist

Anappara, Bhaskar, Zaidi, and Majumdar also happen to be debut writers selected for the longlist this year.


Having authored six out of the ten books selected for the JCB Prize for Literature longlist, women writers dominated the list announced on Tuesday.

The women writers on the list include Deepa Anappara for “Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line”, Manjul Bajaj for “In Search for Heer”, Jahnavi Barua for “Undertow”, Dharini Bhaskar for “These, Our Bodies, Possessed by Light”, Megha Majumdar for “A Burning” and Annie Zaidi for “Prelude to a Riot”.

Anappara, Bhaskar, Zaidi, and Majumdar also happen to be debut writers selected for the longlist this year.

Now in its third edition, the Prize carries an amount of Rs 25 lakh and is awarded each year to a distinguished work of fiction by an Indian writer. It is the most expensive Indian award for writing.

The list also features two translations — “Moustache” by S. Hareesh, translated from the Malayalam by Jayasree Kalathil, and “A Ballad of Remittent Fever: A Novel” by Ashoke Mukhopadhyay, translated from Bengali by Arunava Sinha.

Other books on the list include “Chosen Spirits” by Samit Basu and “The Machine is Learning” by Tanuj Solanki.

This year”s jury was chaired by Leela Samson, former chairperson of the Sangeet Natak Akademi. Other members were Tejaswini Niranjana, author and professor; Aruni Kashyap, author; Ramu Ramanathan, playwright and director; and Deepika Sorabjee, head of arts and culture portfolio at the Tata Trusts.

“The longlisted books this year bring out the distinctive voice of each character and tell tales that are imaginative & powerful, providing us with fresh insights into the contemporary world even if some of them are set in historical times,” said the jury.

The shortlist, which will include five titles, will be announced on September 25. The winner will be declared on November 7.

If the winning book is a translation, then both the author and the translator will be acknowledged and awarded, and the latter will be given an additional Rs 10 lakh. Also, each of the shortlisted authors will receive Rs 1 lakh. In a similar vein, the translator will receive Rs 50,000.

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