The shortlist for the Shakti Bhatt First Book Prize was announced on Monday, 2 September 2019. The five literary debuts on the shortlist include highly acclaimed releases such as Nadia Akbar’s Goodbye Freddie Mercury, commenting on the young social elite of Lahore; Babu Bangladesh by Numair Atif Choudhury; Ib’s Endless Search for Satisfaction by Roshan Ali, which brings a distinctly contemporary, urban Indian perspective of Ib; journalist Priyanka Dubey’s No Nation for Women — an unflinching record of the sexual violence against women in India; and Early Indians by Tony Joseph, who digs deep into genetics, archaeology and linguistics to question the current mainstream political discourse.
The works included in the 2019 shortlist, besides being stories of hard to accept truths and sometimes carefully offering hope, are also diverse commentaries on the South Asian social and political situation and concerns.
Noted author and jury member Arshia Sattar said of the selection: “As our democratic processes are brutally demolished and our voices of dissent are choked off, our public and private bookshelves can stand tall as spaces of resistance. Solidarities can still be created by the books that we write and read and share. This year’s shortlist is a shout-out to those spaces and solidarities.”
Apart from Sattar, the other jury members for the 2019 Prize include poet and author Jeet Thayil, journalist Sonia Faleiro, Prayaag Akbar (whose debut novel Leila was recently developed into a Netflix series), and literary giant Ruskin Bond.
The Shakti Bhatt First Book Prize, set up in 2008 in honour of Shakti Bhatt, offers Rs 2 lakh and a trophy to debut authors from the South Asian subcontinent. Last year, the prize was awarded to Sujatha Gidla for her Ants Among Elephants: An Untouchable Family And The Making Of Modern India.
The 2019 winner will be announced in November.
Updated Date: Sep 02, 2019 16:02:55 IST