AUTHOR AWARDS

29 th JULY 2015

 Indian author Anuradha Roy. Image Courtesy Blog.

 Indian author Anuradha Roy and British-Indian Sunjeev Sahota are among 13 international authors long-listed for the 2015 Man Booker Prize, the prestigious literary prize committee announced here today.

Roy has been picked for her third novel, ‘Sleeping on Jupiter’, and Sahota for ‘The Year of the Runaways’, the committee said.”We had a great time choosing this list. Discussions weren’t always peaceful, but they were always very friendly,” said Michael Wood, chair of this year’s Man Booker judging panel.

“We were lucky in our companions and the submissions were extraordinary. The long-list could have been twice as long, but we’re more than happy with our final choice.”The range of different performances and forms of these novels is amazing. All of them do something exciting with the language they have chosen to use,” he said.

‘Sleeping on Jupiter’ has received glowing reviews for its attempt at exposing the hypocrisies of Indian society, while Sahota has been praised for his tale of Indian migrant workers living in Britain.The judges were struck by the international spectrum of the novels, with the longlist also featuring British writers, American writers and writers from the Republic of Ireland, New Zealand, Nigeria and Jamaica.

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5th December 2014

AUTHOR-DIRECTOR WINS GLOBAL INDIAN OF THE YEAR

Noted author and film director Nikhil Chandwani has been named Global Indian of the Year 2014 in the arts, culture and youth development category by the Global Indian Forum Society.

The 21-year-old author won two prestigious literary awards in 2014 – the “Conspiracy Novel of the Year” award from the American Literary Forum Society for his novel titled “Coded Conspiracy” and the “most promising talent” award from the UK Writers’ Forum.
One of his documentary films, “Escape from Kenya”, won him several awards.

Chandwani also became the youngest feature film producer of the upcoming Hindi flick, “She-The Movie”.

Chandwani, who came out with his first novel titled “I wrote your name in the sky” in 2011, has also written the script of a soon-to-be-released Hollywood film, “Spider in the Window”.

8th June 2014

Irish author pips Jhumpa to win top

literary prize

Irish author Eimear McBride has won the 2014 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction with her debut, A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing. She beat among others Indian-American writer Jhumpa Lahiri’s ‘The Lowland’.

The awards ceremony took place at The Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, London, where 600 guests gathered to hear who would be crowned the winner. Hosted by best-selling novelist and co-founder of the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction, Kate Mosse, 2014 chair of judges Helen Fraser, presented McBride with the £30,000 prize and the ‘Bessie’, a limited edition bronze figurine, both of which are anonymously endowed.

Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction (earlier known as the Orange Prize) is UK’s only annual book award for fiction written by a woman. McBride’s debut is a story of a young woman’s relationship with her brother and the long shadow cast by his childhood brain tumour.

Judges said, “To read A Girl is a Half-formed Thing is to plunge inside into the narrator’s head, experiencing her world first-hand”.
Helen Fraser, chair of judges, said, “An amazing and ambitious first novel that impressed the judges with its inventiveness and energy. This is an extraordinary new voice – this novel will move and astonish the reader.”

15th APRIL 2014

Bangalore-born poet wins 2014 Pulitzer Prize

India-born poet Vijay Seshadri has won the prestigious 2014 Pulitzer Prize in the poetry category for his collection of poems

“3 Sections.”

The 98th annual Pulitzer Prizes in Journalism, Letters, Drama and Music were announced yesterday by Columbia University here.Seshadri’s ‘3 Sections’ is a “compelling collection of poems that examine human consciousness, from birth to dementia, in a voice that is by turns witty and grave, compassionate and remorseless,” the announcement said.

399340_thumpThe prize for the poetry category was given for a “distinguished volume of original verse” by an American author.A Columbia University alum, Seshadri would receive USD 10,000 reward.According to Seshadri’s biography on the Pulitzer website, he currently teaches poetry and nonfiction writing at liberal arts college Sarah Lawrence in New York. Born in Bangalore in 1954, Seshadri came to America at the age of five and grew up in Columbus, Ohio.His collections of poems include James Laughlin Award winner The Long Meadow and Wild Kingdom (1996). His poems, essays, and reviews have appeared in prestigious publications including the American Scholar, the Nation, the New Yorker, the Paris Review, Yale Review, the Times Book Review, the Philadelphia Enquirer and in many anthologies, including Under 35: The New Generation of American Poets and The Best American Poetry 1997 and 2003.Seshadri has received grants from the New York Foundation for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts, and has been awarded the Paris Review’s Bernard F Conners Long Poem Prize and the MacDowell Colony’s Fellowship for Distinguished Poetic Achievement.Seshadri is the fifth person of Indian origin to bag the prestigious award, the first being Gobind Behari Lal in 1937. Lal, a science editor, was awarded the Pulitzer in the Reporting category for his coverage of science at the tercentenary of Harvard University when he was working for Universal Service. He died of cancer in 1992.

Indian-American author Jhumpa Lahiri got Pulitzer for fiction in 2000 for her collection of stories “Interpreters of Maladies”.

Journalist-writer of Indian origin Geeta Anand was the next to get the award. Anand was the investigative reporter and feature writer for the Wall Street Journal and won the award in 2003 for “clear, concise and comprehensive stories that illuminated the roots, significance and impact of corporate scandals in America”.

Indian-American physician Siddhartha Mukherjee’s acclaimed book on cancer, ‘The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer,’ won the 2011 Pulitzer prize in the general non-fiction category.

11th January 2014

Poet Abhay K. wins SAARC Literature Award

Diplomat and poet Abhay K. has been awarded the SAARC Literature Award for his contribution to contemporary South Asian poetry. The award was presented at the just-concluded SAARC Festival of Literature 2013 in Taj city Agra. The poet, who had been posted in Moscow and is now in Kathmandu, has authored eight books including five anthologies of poetry – “Enigmatic Love” (2009), “Fallen Leaves of Autumn (2010)”, “Candling the Light (2011)”, “Remains (2012)” and “Seduction of Delhi”.

Born in Nalanda district of Bihar in India in 1980, he studied at the Delhi University, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Moscow State University and the George Washington University. He joined the Indian Foreign Service 2003.

5th January 2014

A bestselling author, she works as a

domestic help in Gurgaon

She has been on book tours to cities such as Paris, Frankfurt and Hong Kong; her books have been translated into 12 foreign languages — including French, German and Japanese. She is often invited to speak at literary festivals across the country.

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Her new book is set to hit the stands later this month.However, there is an intriguing twist in the tale of Baby Halder. This 39-year-old prolific writer does not like to be called an author.”I am a domestic help, not a writer,” said Halder, who has two best-selling books to her credit and first shot to fame in 2006, with her work “A Life Less Ordinary”.For the past 14 years, Halder has been working as a maid at the house of Prabodh Kumar in Gurgaon, where she lives in a temporary house on the terrace.

Kumar, 80, her employer, is not only her employer, but also her literary mentor and translator. “When she started working at my house, she had enormous interest in books. She would pick Bengali books from the bookshelf and avidly read them. As I interacted with her, I realised that she had a story that needed to be told,” said Kumar, a retired professor of Anthropology.

Halder had a motherless childhood and an abusive father. Her step-mother married her off at the tender age of 13 years to a man twice her age. She was raped on her wedding night.Fed up with her abusive husband, she boarded a train from Durgapur in West Bengal for Delhi, where she started working as a maid at a house. She, however, soon left the house after her employers started mistreating her. Soon, she found work at Prabodh Kumar’s house and life took a turn for the better.

One day, Kumar handed Halder a pen and asked her to write her story in her mother tongue, Bengali.”I was nervous when I held the pen in my fingers. I had not written anything since my school days. But when I started writing, words began to flow effortlessly. In fact, writing turned out to be a cathartic experience,” revealed Halder, who has studied up to 7th grade.  “What she wrote had enormous depth. In fact, I showed it to my friends and they agreed with me,” said Kumar, who has translated Halder’s books into Hindi.In fact, her first book ‘Aalo Aandhari’ (Light and Darkness) was published in 2002 in Hindi. In 2006, it was published in English, titled ‘A Life Less Ordinary: A Memoir.’

In 2010, she published her second book ‘Eshast Rupantar’, — a sequel to her first book — the English translation of which is slated to be released next month. Her third book — the story of her progression from childhood to teenage — will be published by the end of this month.

Halder said she writes between cooking, sweeping and swabbing and it took her a year to finish each of her books. “I am not organised or disciplined as far as writing is concerned. I write anytime, anywhere,” she added. Halder has rubbed shoulder with many top writers at literary festivals and seminar across the world.She is a fan of Arundhati Roy, Taslima Nasrin and Jhumpa Lahiri.  Nasrin’s ‘Amar Meyebela’ (My Girlhood) is her favourite book. “I have met her several times; she has always been very encouraging,” said Halder.

And what do writers talk to her about?”They mostly discuss my life and my writing; but one question that everyone asks is why I continue as a domestic help,” Halder said.

Halder has built a house in Kolkata with earnings from her books. “I need not work as a domestic help anymore, but I am not comfortable leaving my employer who is a father-like figure to me. But eventually I hope to move to Kolkata someday, which I think is the best place for people who want to write in Bengali,” said Halder.

Her two children, Tapas, 20, and Piya 17 — who want to become a fashion designer — often complain about not being sent to a private English-medium school.”They do not understand that when they started going to school, I did not have enough money. Today, I would have certainly sent them to a private school,” Halder added.

A voracious reader, Halder is looking forward to reading Jhumpa Lahiri’s ‘The Lowland’ and ‘The Diary of Anne Frank’. “Many people say it is similar to my first book,” Halder said.   She has been closely following the Devyani Khobragade issue and feels that it was Sangeeta  Richard, the maid, and not her employer who is the victim in the case.

“I appreciate the domestic help’s courage in taking on her powerful employer, who I believe shortchanged her in terms of  salary. Unfortunately, there is no respect for physical labour in India. The rich and the powerful feel that they have a right to exploit their domestic help,” she added.

25th DECEMBER 2013

Indian foodie’s cookbook in line for

International award

“On The Kabab Trail” by restaurateur and foodie Manish Gujaral has won the  Gourmand Cook Books Award for the best foreign cuisine cookbook in India and is now in line for an international award.

“On The Kebab Trail” will now compete for the international title of the best cook book in the world in the foreign recipe category at the Gourmand world cook book awards in China in May 2014,” Gujral said in a statement.

His second book, “On the Butter Chicken Trail”, won the Gourmand best easy recipe book in the World 2009-2010.“On The Kebab Trail” was released in March and has which has made waves in India. It became a national bestseller with rave reviews in the media.

Time of India quoted it as”top five read this summer”; Hindustan times quoted it as” A delectable read”, New Indian express quoted”the kitchen of the kebab king Monish Gujral” , Mail today reviewed it as ” Monish Travel with a busy Tandoor”, IANS quoted” Tandoori scion on kebab trail- from Turkey to India.

Gujral is the grandson of the well-known Kundan Lal Gujaral, creator of the famed North Indian  Moti Mahal chain of eateries that set tandoori chicken on the food map and also conceived the exemplary Punjabi butter chicken.

21st NOVEMBER 2013

Crossword Book Award Nominees Announced

Jerry Pinto’s “Em and The Big Hoom”, Manu Joseph’s “The Illicit Happiness of Other People” and Rahul Pandita’s “Our Moon has Blood Clots” have been shortlisted for the Crossword Book Award 2013.

This was announced Wednesday by a panel comprising publishing consultant Jaya Bhattacharji Rose, authors Ravinder Singh, Anuja Chauhan and Vishwajyoti Ghosh and senior commissioning editor Vaishali Mathur.

“This award gives our readers a chance to connect and be a part of process of choosing their favourite authors. In turn, it also comes as great validation for the nominees who have been chosen based on popularity,” Crossword Bookstores COO Kinjal Shah told IANS.

The literary award is divided into five categories — original work in fiction, non-fiction, Indian language fiction translation into English, Indian children’s writings and the popular award.

The winners will be announced in Mumbai in December.The shortlist in Indian fiction category includes “Boats on Land” by Janice Pariat, “Difficult Pleasures” by Anjum Hasan, “Not Only the Things That Have Happened” by Mridula Koshy.

Making it to the non-fiction category are “The Butterfly Generation” by Palash Krishna Mehrotra, “The Price of Land” by Sanjoy Chakravorty, “Righteous Republic” by Ananya Vajpeyi and “From the Ruins of Empire” by Pankaj Mishra. Some of the books shortlisted in children’s category are “Moin the Monster Songster” by Anushka Ravishankar, “The Stupendous Timetelling Superdog” by Himanjali Sankar and “Wisha Wozzariter” by Payal Kapadia.

Each award carries a cash prize of Rs.300,000, a trophy and a citation. In case of the Indian language fiction translation category, the author and the translator share the prize money.The popular award has a cash prize of Rs. 100,000 and a trophy.

16th OCTOBER 2013

Eleanor Catton becomes the youngest winner of Booker Prize

Youth  triumphed at Britain’s Booker Prize on Tuesday, as 28-year-old New Zealander Eleanor Catton won the fiction award for “The Luminaries,” an ambitious 832-page murder mystery set during a 19th-century gold rush. The choice should give heart to young authors of oversized tales. Catton is the youngest writer and only the second New Zealander to win the prestigious award – and her epic novel is easily the longest Booker champion.

 Catton said after accepting the award that she didn’t think about the length of the book while she was writing it, “partly because I was inside it for the whole time.”

“It wasn’t until I received the proof of the book that I thought, ‘Jeepers, this is actually quite heavy,'” she said. “I’ve had to buy a new handbag, because my old handbag wasn’t big enough to hold my book.”

She thanked her British publisher, Granta, for protecting her from feeling the commercial pressures around a time that could be seen as “a publisher’s nightmare.”

Macfarlane said the novel “takes place in a culture which is utterly capitalized” and focused on money, but also dwells on tenderness and love.

He said the panel of five judges met for two hours – brief by Booker standards – to choose the winner, which was decided without a vote. “No blood was spilled in the judging,” he said.

Macfarlane said Catton’s youth did not influence the judges, and Catton said she felt “honored and proud to be living in a world where the facts of somebody’s biography doesn’t get in the way of how people read their work.”

1O th OCTOBER 2013

Alice Munro wins Nobel Literature Prize

Canada’s Alice Munro won the Nobel Literature Prize today for her short stories that focus on the frailties of the human condition, becoming just the 13th woman to win in the history of the coveted award.

FILE - This June 25, 2009 file photo shows Canadian Author Alice Munro at a press conference at Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland. Munro has won the 2013 Nobel Prize in literature Thursday Oct. 10, 2013. AP Photo
The Swedish Academy honored Munro, 82, as a “master of the contemporary short story”.
It hailed her “finely tuned storytelling, which is characterized by clarity and psychological realism. Some critics consider her a Canadian Chekhov.”

“Her stories are often set in small town environments, where the struggle for a socially acceptable existence often results in strained relationships and moral conflicts — problems that stem from generational differences and colliding life ambitions,” it said.

 Tipped as one of the favorites in the days before today’s announcement, Munro is just the 13th woman to win the Nobel Literature Prize since it was first awarded in 1901.

She is also the first Canadian to win the prestigious honour.Munro will receive the prize sum of eight million Swedish kronor (USD 1.24 million).She will be presented with her award at a formal ceremony in Stockholm on December 10, the anniversary of prize founder Alfred Nobel’s death in 1896. Last year, the award went to Chinese novelist Mo Yan.

27th September 2013

Karen Russell, Donald Antrim among MacArthur Fellowships

Novelist and professor Donald Antrim and Pulitzer nominee Karen Russell are among the 24 MacArthur Fellows elected for 2013.


Antrim, whose work can be found in The New Yorker, is known for three works of fiction: “Elect Mr. Robinson for a Better World,” published 1993, “The Hundred Brothers” in 1998, and “The Verificationist” in 2000, the middle of which was recognized by the PEN/Faulkner Award panel.

 He currently teaches at Columbia University as an Associate Professor.

New York resident Russell achieved fame with “Swamplandia!” which drew on her knowledge of home county Florida, and led to her presence on that year’s Orange Prize for Fiction longlist and won her a Pulitzer Prize nomination.

Her debut novel was “St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves,” while her latest publication, “Vampires in the Lemon Grove,” is a collection of short stories released in February of this year.

At 32 years of age, Russell joins Steppenwolf Theatre playwright Tarell McCraney as this year’s youngest MacArthur Fellows.

The MacArthur Fellows Program, colloquially known as the Genius Grant, awards $625,000 to each recipient over five years, given to US citizens that show “exceptional creativity in their work and the prospect for still more in the future.”

Source:HT

25th September 2013

Zimbabwe author shortlisted for Booker prize

An African teenager living in Detroit can’t understand why her immigrant aunt is always dieting when people back home in Zimbabwe go hungry every day.

The teenager, named ‘Darling’, is the creation of the first Zimbabwean and black African woman to be nominated for the coveted British literary Booker Prize. No Violet Bulawayo’s novel touches on the woes in her troubled homeland.

 “We Need New Names” is one of six works on an annual shortlist of the finest English-language writing from Britain, Ireland and the 54-nation Commonwealth of former British colonies. The winner of the award officially known as the Man Booker Prize after its sponsor, financial services firm Man Group PLC, will be announced on Oct. 15.

Bulawayo, 31, writes on the search for identity in the United States by Africans escaping poverty and upheaval at home, and leaving behind childhood friends and what she describes as the vibrant “colors and magic” of their continent.

Bulawayo, who was visiting Zimbabwe to promote her debut novel, went to the United States to study law in 1999. Later, she earned a master’s in fine arts at Cornell University, where she was awarded a Truman Capote fellowship. She is currently on a fellowship at Stanford University.

“I am overwhelmed and humbled. It’s a national win” and an inspiration for other Zimbabweans, Bulawayo said.

Born Elizabeth Zandile Tshele, her adopted name derives from her mother Violet who died when she was an 18-month-old baby. In the local SinNdebele language of her western Matabeleland province, “NoViolet” means “withViolet.” In English, it signifies deep remembrance of an absent mother and traditional family values. Bulawayo is the western provincial capital, Zimbabwe’s second city and her home town.

In America, the author said, she strove to understand political violence and economic turmoil that reached its height in Zimbabwe in 2008 and led to at least 2 million Zimbabweans fleeing the country to become diaspora communities around the world.

In the novel Darling, in a phone call with a childhood friend, is accused of abandoning her home rather than staying to deal with the challenges. That is the kind of discomfort experienced by many Zimbabweans exiles living abroad.

“Any decent government should provide for its people. You make a dangerous society by having a disgruntled people. I am just a writer. I don’t make policy to change lives at a tangible level. I only have a voice,” said Bulawayo, who spent her early childhood in rural western Zimbabwe. There, she listened to the folktales of her grandfather and father, who had been in the colonial Rhodesian police force and was branded a “sellout” after independence.

Electronic media aside, “I hope somehow we go back to a culture of reading,” Bulawayo said. “There’s an economic issue. What you can afford – getting something to eat or reading?”

Source:Excerpts from HT

20th September 2013

Days after being shortlisted for the Man Booker prize for her new novel, “The Lowland”, Pulitzer Prize-winning Indian-American author Jhumpa Lahiri has been shortlisted for the 2013 US National Book Award in fiction. Lahiri’s tale of two brothers set in Kolkata of the 1960s has been listed along with nine other works, including Tom Drury’s “Pacific”, Elizabeth Graver’s “The End of the Point” and Rachel Kushner’s “The Flamethrowers.”

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The National Book Foundation said finalists in the Young People’s Literature, Poetry, Nonfiction and Fiction categories would be announced on Oct 16 and the winners will be named at a ceremony in New York on November 20.

Born in London, 46-year-old Lahiri, who lives in Brooklyn, New York, is the daughter of immigrants from West Bengal. Lahiri’s tale of two brothers set in Kolkata of the 1960s has been listed She is the author of three previous books. Her debut collection of stories, “Interpreter of Maladies”, won the Pulitzer Prize and the PEN/Hemingway Award. Her novel “The Namesake” was a New York Times Notable Book and was selected as one of the best books of the year by USA Today and Entertainment Weekly, among other publications. “The Namesake” was also adapted into a film of the same name by acclaimed filmmaker Mira Nair. Her second book of short stories, “Unaccustomed Earth”, was named one of the ten best books of the year by The New York Times Book Review.

In a review of her latest novel, the New York Times noted: “Jhumpa Lahiri first made her name with quiet, meticulously observed stories about Indian immigrants trying to adjust to new lives in the United States, stories that had the hushed intimacy of chamber music.” “The premise of her new novel, ‘The Lowland,’ in contrast, is startlingly operatic,” the influential US daily said calling it “certainly Lahiri’s most ambitious undertaking yet,” that “eventually opens out into a moving family story.

Note: This page is exclusively dedicated to notable authors who are the path-breakers in the writing profession and duly recognized by the audience for their achievements.

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