What is the JCB Literature Prize?

Literary awards seek to bestow honour and recognition on outstanding pieces of literature. Over the years, Booker and Nobel have emerged as prestigious prizes internationally.

India too has its own brand of literary awards, which have gained international fame and recognition such as the Jnanpith, Sahitya Akademi, and the JCB Prize for Literature. Earlier this month, the long list of the 2021 JCB Prize for Literature was announced. The 10 novels on the long list were selected by a jury comprising author and literary translator Sara Rai, designer and art historian Annapuma Garimella, author and translator Shahnaz Habib, writer podcaster Amit Varma and journalist-editor Prem Panicker.

What is the JCB Prize?

India's richest literary prize, it was established in 2018 by the JCB Literature Foundation, which is run by the global manufacturer of earthmoving and construction equipment. The winner of the coveted award will receive Rs 25 lakh, and if it happens to be a translated work, the translator will get 10 lakh. The shortlisted authors also get Rs 1 lakh each and translators Rs 50,000.

Beginner's luck

This year’s long list consists majorly of debutant works such as "What We Know About Her by Krupa Ge and "Anti-Clock" by VI James. Malayalam writer S Hareesh had won the prize in 2020 for the translation of his novel "Moustache". In 2019, author Madhuri Vijay won for her debut novel The Far Field", while in 2018 the award went to Benyamin for his "Jasmine Days", a novel translated from Malayalam to English.

What's next?

The shortlist of the JCB Prize will be announced on October 4, while the winner will be declared on November 13.

THIS YEAR'S LONGLIST

  • What We Know About Her by Krupa Ge
  • "Anti-Clock" by VJ James (English translation by Ministry S)
  • "Name Place Animal Thing" by Daribha Lyndem
  • "A Death in Sonagachhi" by Rijula Das
  • The Plague Upon Us" by Shabir Ahmed Mir
  • "Gods and Ends" by Lindsay Pereira
  • The Dharma Forest" by Keerthik Sasidharan
  • "Asoca" by Invin Allan Sealy
  • "A Soliloquy" by M Mukunda  translated from Malayalam by Fathima EV and Nandakumar K)
  • “The Man Who Learnt to Fly but Could Not Land" by Thachom Poyil Rajeevan (translated from Malayalam by PJ Mathew).

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What are the Pulitzer prizes?

Two Indian-origin journalists were among the winners of the Pulitzer Prize announced on June 11. While Megha Ragapalan bagged the award for her investigative reporting in China's mass detention camps, Neil Bedi won for local reporting along with Kathleen McGrory. Here are some Indians and people of Indian origin who have won the prize in the past:

Photojournalism

In 2018, Adnan Abidi and Danish Siddiqui became the first Indians to win a Pulitzer for feature photography. The two photojournalists at Reuters were given the award for documenting the Rohingya refugee crisis in Myanmar and Bangladesh.

In March 2020, Dar Yasin, Mukhtar Khan, and Channi Anand were bestowed the honour for capturing life in Kashmir after the scrapping of Article 370 and the communication clampdown.

Reporting

Gobind Behari Lal was the first Indian to win the Pulitzer in 1937. Along with four others, he won in the reporting category for his coverage of science. One of the earliest science writers, Gobind Lal had interviewed Albert Einstein, among others. In 2003, Geeta Anand, of Indian origin bagged the award was part of a team at the Wall Street Journal for a series on the impact of corporate scandals in the U.S. Another Indian origin journalist Sanghamitra Kalita, former managing editor of Los Angeles Times won in 2015.

Literature

Author Jhumpa Lahiri's "Interpreter of Maladies" won in the fiction category in 2000.

In 2011, Indian-American cancer physician and researcher Siddhartha Mukherjee was awarded the general nonfiction prize for his book - "The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer". Poet Vijay Seshadri won for his collection of poems '3 Sections, which examined human consciousness from birth to dementia.

What are the Pulitzer prizes?

Named after the newspaper publisher Joseph Pulitzer, the Pulitzer Prize awards newspaper, magazine and online journalism, photo journalism and literature annually. Pulitzer allocated money in his will to be donated to Columbia University for the purposes of opening a journalism school and establishing the prize. And so, the award is administered by Columbia University.

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Which award recognizes outstanding books exclusively in the science fiction genre?

The Hugo Award is an annual literary award for the best science fiction or fantasy works and achievements of the previous year, given at the World Science Fiction Convention and chosen by its members. The Hugo is widely considered the premier award in science fiction. The award is administered by the World Science Fiction Society. It is named after Hugo Gernsback, the founder of the pioneering science fiction magazine Amazing Stories. Hugos were first given in 1953, at the 11th World Science Fiction Convention, and have been awarded every year since 1955.

For each category of Hugo, the voter may rank "No Award" as one of their choices. Voters are instructed that they should do so if they feel that none of the nominees are worthy of the award, or if they feel the category should be abolished entirely. A vote for "No Award" other than as one's first choice signifies that the voter believes the nominees ranked higher than "No Award" are worthy of a Hugo in that category, while those ranked lower are not.

The idea of giving out awards at Worldcons was proposed by Harold Lynch for the 1953 convention. The idea was based on the Academy Awards, with the name "Hugo" being given by Robert A. Madle. The award trophy was created by Jack McKnight and Ben Jason in 1953, based on the design of hood ornaments of 1950s cars. It consisted of a finned rocket ship on a wooden base. Each subsequent trophy, with the exception of the 1958 trophy (a plaque), has been similar to the original design. The rocket trophy was formally redesigned in 1984, and since then only the base of the trophy has changed each year. There is no monetary or other remuneration associated with the Hugo, other than the trophy.

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The Pulitzer Prize is awarded for achievements in journalism, literature and musical composition. Who are the awards named after?

The Pulitzer Prize is an award for achievements in newspaper, magazine and online journalism, literature and musical composition within the United States. It was established in 1917 by provisions in the will of Joseph Pulitzer, who had made his fortune as a newspaper publisher and is administered by Columbia University. Prizes are awarded yearly in twenty-one categories. In twenty of the categories, each winner receives a certificate and a US$15,000 cash award (raised from $10,000 in 2017). The winner in the public service category is awarded a gold medal.

The Pulitzer Prize does not automatically consider all applicable works in the media, but only those that have specifically been entered. (There is a $75 entry fee, for each desired entry category.) Entries must fit in at least one of the specific prize categories, and cannot simply gain entrance for being literary or musical. Works can also be entered only in a maximum of two categories, regardless of their properties.

Each year, 102 jurors are selected by the Pulitzer Prize Board to serve on 20 separate juries for the 21 award categories; one jury makes recommendations for both photography awards. Most juries consist of five members, except for those for Public Service, Investigative Reporting, Explanatory Reporting, Feature writing and Commentary categories, which have seven members; however, all book juries have at least three members. For each award category, a jury makes three nominations. The board selects the winner by majority vote from the nominations or bypasses the nominations and selects a different entry following a 75 percent majority vote. The board can also vote to issue no award. The board and journalism jurors are not paid for their work; however, the jurors in letters, music, and drama receive a $2,000 honorarium for the year, and each chair receives $2,500.

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Who is the first writer in English to have won the Jnanpith award?

Jnanpith Award is the oldest and the highest Indian literary award presented annually by the Bharatiya Jnanpith to an author for their "outstanding contribution towards literature". Instituted in 1961, the award is bestowed only on Indian writers writing in Indian languages included in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution of India and English, with no posthumous conferral.

In a first, the prestigious literary award Jananpith has been conferred to an English writer Amitav Ghosh. The 1956, Kolkata-born author was described as a "path-breaking novelist" by Bharatiya Jnanpith. 

Born in Kolkata in 1956 to a Bengali Hindu family, the 62-year-old author currently lives in New York with his wife Deborah Baker.

Amitav Ghosh, who spent his formative years in India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, studied in Delhi, Oxford and Alexandria.

Ghosh is also recipient of the Padma Shri and Sahitya Akademi Award.

The winner gets a cash prize along with a citation and a bronze replica of Saraswati, the Hindu goddess of learning.

In 1965, famous Malayalam writer G Sankara Kurup became the first winner of Jnanpith Award.

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