Friday, September 9, 2011

Shakti Bhatt Prize shortlist announced

Amidst all the big ticket literary prizes on the Indian landscape, the one that still has the most hearts racing is the Shakti Bhatt First Book Prize. After all, as the name suggests, the winner is always a first-time author, and what better start to a literary career than to win an award with your first book?

The prize, set up in memory of the talented writer and editor Shakti Bhatt, who died tragically just at the age of 27, has in the past three years been won by Samanth Subramanian for Following Fish; Mridula Koshy for If It Is Sweet; and Mohammed Hanif for A Case of Exploding Mangoes. This year, as is the practice, a shortlist of six books has been announced, with the winner scheduled to be announced in November.

Easily the most exciting aspect of this year's shortlist is the inclusion of the Pakistani writer Jamil Ahmad's The Wandering Falcon. For Ahmad is 78, not the usual age for someone in the running for a first book prize. The retired civil servant has completed his manuscript of interconnected stories set on the border of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran back in 1974. But it wasn’t until 2008 that the work was dusted off and found its way to Penguin UK, where Meru Gokhale – currently Editorial Director of Vintage Books at Random House India - picked it up.

The shortlist:
The Collaborator, Mirza Waheed
The Wandering Falcon, Jamail Ahmad
The Truth About Me, A Revathi
Chinaman, Shehan Karunatilaka
A Free Man, Aman Sethi
RD Burman: The Man, The Music, Anirudha Bhattacharjee & Balaji Vittal

Full report here IBNLive

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