JCB Prize 2018: Benyamin's Malayalam novel Jasmine Days announced winner
The JCB Prize 2018 winner Jasmine Days is the story of a young Pakistani woman who witnesses the 2011 Arab Spring while working a radio jockey in a West Asian country
Benyamin's Jasmine Days, translated from Malayalam to English by Shahnaz Habib, was declared the winner of the inaugural JCB Prize for Literature at the award ceremony held on 24 October, 2018.
The author received a sum of Rs 25 lakh and Habib was also awarded a prize of Rs 5 lakh. Jasmine Days is the story of a young Pakistani woman, Sameera, who works as a radio jockey in an unnamed West Asian country and bears witness to the 2011 Arab Spring.
— The JCB Prize for Literature (@TheJCBPrize) October 24, 2018
Other works shortlisted for this award, which especially focuses on translations in a bid to take excellent regional works to readers, included Perumal Murugan's Poonachi, Anuradha Roy's All the Lives We Never Lived, Amitabha Bagchi's Half the Night is Gone and Shubhangi Swarup's Latitudes of Longing.
In its first edition, the jury for the JCB prize comprised of film director Deepa Mehta, Rohan Murty, novelist and playwright Vivek Shanbhag, translator and expert in Indian classical languages Arshia Sattar and author Priyamvada Natarajan.
Benyamin, who has authored over 20 books, has previously been honoured with the Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award for his work, Aadujeevitham (Goat Days). Originally written in Malayalam, Jasmine Days was launched in 2014.
Accepting the JCB prize, helmed by Rana Dasgupta, Scroll.in quoted Benyamin as saying, "Every serious novel is an enquiry into the marginalised brethren within us.”