The JCB Literature Foundation announced the jury for the JCB Prize for Literature 2023. As the leading literary prize enters its sixth year, the varied entries will be judged by Mahesh Dattani, playwright and stage director; Somak Ghoshal, author, critic and learning designer; Kavery Nambisan, author and surgeon; Swati Thiyagarajan, conservation journalist and filmmaker; and chaired by Srinath Perur, author and translator. The jury reflects their diverse background which would help in finding a balanced voice as the best fiction book later this year. The prize is sponsored by JCB India Limited, the country’s leading manufacturer of earthmoving and construction equipment and heralded by the JCB Literature Foundation.
Speaking on the occasion, Mita Kapur, literary director of JCB Prize for Literature, said, “India speaks and reads in so many languages, and the books that are submitted for the JCB Prize are a true representation of the many Indias that reside within one. The 2023 jury brings together immense experience from a diverse range of backgrounds, languages, art forms and mediums of expression. With their precise gaze and nuanced understanding of storytelling, we are confident that the jury will read, evaluate and find gems from the submissions that are entered this year.”
The jury will read through several Indian novels and announce the longlist of ten titles around September (subject to change) and the shortlist of five titles in October (also, subject to change).
The prize money
The winner will be awarded a cash prize of Rs 25 lakh in November 2023. If the winning title is a translation, then the translator will be awarded Rs 10 lakh. Further, every shortlisted title will be awarded Rs 1 lakh each and in case of translations, the translators will receive Rs 50,000 each.
Perur, who chairs the jury this year said, “I am happy to be part of the jury for the JCB Prize for Literature 2023. It represents an opportunity to celebrate books that speak of our times, and bring to notice books that may have been unfairly overlooked. In this regard, I particularly appreciate the efforts at encouraging publishers to send in translations. It ensures that the field truly represents the range of Indian novels brought out in English over the past year. As a reader, I’m looking forward to discovering books I may never have picked up outside of jury duty, and collectively expanding our horizons - one of those things that literature manages to do so well.”
Last year, the JCB Prize for literature was awarded to The Paradise of Food by Khalid Jawed, translated from the Urdu version by Baran Farooqi and published by Juggernaut. The novel centres on food and how it can be the basis of contemporary body, home and nation.
JCB Literature Foundation also promotes inclusivity in readership and thus made the shortlisted novels of 2022 digitally accessible in a format that can reach the visually impaired spectrum comfortably.