Rohini Mohan has bagged the Shakti Bhatt First Book prize 2015 for her book, The Seasons of Trouble.
“The shortlist this year was diverse and spectacular, but we unanimously agreed to award the prize to Rohini Mohan,” said judge Samhita Arni, who along with authors Mohammed Hanif and Krys Lee, chose the winner.
Arni added: “Mohan’s book is the stark, brutal, often unsparing portrait of three desperate lives, struggling to navigate the realities and brutalities of war and peacetime in Sri Lanka. The Seasons of Trouble is more than just a meticulously researched work on the Sri Lankan conflict; Mohan’s skillfully-woven and structured narrative testifies to her considerable talent as a storyteller. The careful, deliberate way in which she withholds and later reveals information, her vividly-drawn characters and situations, combine to create a gripping reading experience. The Seasons of Trouble is simultaneously compassionate yet critical, emotionally evocative yet objective.”
This year's shortlist for the Shakti Bhatt First Book Prize had shown more variety than ever before, straddling fiction, non-fiction and the graphic novel. The categories were strongly represented by younger and older voices that reached for the story behind the story, fully exploring the possibilities of both meta-narrative and speculation.
The prize ceremony will be held in New Delhi on December 22 at the Max Mueller Bhavan.
The Shakti Bhatt First Book Prize is a cash award of Rs 2 lakh, and a trophy. It is funded by the Shakti Bhatt Foundation and the Apeejay Trust.
Image: The cover of Rohini Mohan's book. Photograph: rohinimohan.com