Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay NIF Book Prize 2019 Shortlist features works by Alpa Shah, Ornit Shani

  • The New Foundation (NIF) has announced the shortlist for its second Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay NIF Book Prize.

  • Alpa Shah, Ornit Shani, Snigdha Poonam, Rohit De, Manoranjan Byapari, and Piers Vitebsky have been shortlisted for the literary award.

  • The six-book shortlist features works demonstrating the power of free speech in the country.

The New Foundation (NIF) has announced the shortlist for its second Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay NIF Book Prize. The six-book shortlist features works demonstrating the power of free speech in the country. Alpa Shah's Nightmarch: A Journey into India's Naxal Heartlands, and Ornit Shani's How India Became Democratic are among those nominated for the literary prize.

 Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay NIF Book Prize 2019 Shortlist features works by Alpa Shah, Ornit Shani

Alpa Shah's Nightmarch: A Journey into India's Naxal Heartlands; Ornit Shani's How India Became Democratic

The NIF received 115 nominations for the Book Prize from which the jury has shortlisted six titles which "showcase a diversity of approaches—autobiography and reportage, anthropology and history—as well as a variety of themes that blend the country‘s complex past to aspirations for the future."

The complete shortlist for 2019's Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay NIF Book Prize:

—Manoranjan Byapari Interrogating My Chandal Life (Sage)

Interrogating My Chandal Life is a translation of Byrapari‘s inspirational memoir Itibritte Chandal Jivan. Through a powerful narrative for the need for agency and dignity, he takes the reader through a layered investigation of his own identity. A harsh reminder of the inequality that exists in our society, his writing permeates with poverty, disease, anger as well as a fierce will to live.

—Rohit De A People's Constitution: The Everyday Life of Law in the Indian Republic (Princeton University Press)

A scholarly work that explores how the Indian Constitution of 1950 has liberated one of the largest population of the world. Contrary to the argument that the Constitution has little influence on the masses, De illustrates the power of the Indian legal system through four important, diverse cases led by minorities of the country.

—Snigdha Poonam -Dreamers: How Young Indians Are Changing Their World (Penguin Random House India)

Dreamers touches on the topic of ̳aspirations of millions‘ and provides a perspective on the challenges the youngsters of India are facing, and its impact on the country. Poonam's reporting skills are displayed through a collection of profiles that provides a vivid glimpse of the potential of the young people to change the course of the country.

—Alpa ShahNightmarch: A Journey into India's Naxal Heartlands (HarperCollins)

Unfolding like a thriller and brought to life by the writer's years of research and immersion into the daily lives of the tribal communities in a Naxal stronghold, Nightmarch investigates what drove the marginalised towards Naxalism. A reflection on economic growth, rising inequality, dispossession and conflict at the heart of contemporary India, Shah's gritty journey reveals how and why people from very different backgrounds come together to take up arms to change the world but also what makes them fall apart.

Also read: Alpa Shah on Nightmarch, her Orwell Prize-longlisted account of journeying into India’s Naxal heartland

—Ornit Shani - How India Became Democratic (Penguin Random House India)

This scholarly work explores the deep connection between being an Indian citizen and his/her right to exercise one‘s franchise. Through this well-researched book that makes a thought-provoking claim that ―Indians became voters before they became citizens‖, Shani details the entire process of the institutionalisation of democracy by allowing us to grasp the glory of that moment.

—Piers Vitebsky - Living Without the Dead: Loss and Redemption in a Jungle Cosmos (HarperCollins)

The book lays bare today's crisis of indigenous religions and shows how historical reform can bring new fulfilment, but also new torments and uncertainties. Vitebsky explores the loss of the Sora tradition as one for greater humanity: just as we have been losing our wildernesses, so we have been losing cultural and spiritual possibilities, tribe by tribe.

The winner of the Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay NIF Book Prize will be announced at the Bangalore Literature Festival in November, 2019.

Updated Date: Sep 06, 2019 13:43:59 IST