Six books were nominated for the Shakti Bhatt First Book Prize this year. The books in contention for this year’s cash prize of Rs 1 lakh and trophy are: Boats on Land by Janice Pariat, India Becoming by Akash Kapur, The King’s Harvest by Chetan Raj Shreshta, The Wildings by Nilanjana Roy, Foreign by Sonora Jha and a pleasant kind of heavy and other stories by aranyani.
Writer and arts consultant Sanjay Iyer and poet and novelist Jeet Thayil selected the six titles from a list of 74.
“Arguably, this is one of the strongest shortlists in the prize’s history,” said Iyer.
“The books represent a variety of genres as well as concerns, and the advisory board recognised the quality of books published in India by Indian authors living elsewhere. The stories and non-fictions take us from the far reaches of Meghalaya and Sikkim, through the length and breadth of India to the whimsical universe of street cats in a neighbourhood in New Delhi,” he added.
Boats on Land and Foreign explore socio-economic realities in Meghalaya and Vidharba respectively, through poignant and moving fictional lenses. India Becoming has a sweeping canvas that explores changing lives through an important work of non-fiction.
The King’s Harvest is two novellas that create magic out of the particularities of Sikkim. aranyani is the pseudonymous author of a pleasant kind of heavy and other stories, classic and classy literary erotica set in a South Indian milieu.
The Wildings is a startling narrative in which the characters are street cats in Delhi’s Nizamuddin East.
The judges of the 2013 Shakti Bhatt First Book Prize are poet and novelist Meena Kandasamy, author and professor Sunil Khilnani and novelist Niven Govinden.
The winner will be announced in November, 2013.