The Atta Galatta Bangalore Literature Festival Book Prize 2019 for Best Fiction has been awarded to Sahitya Akademi Award recipient Vinod Kumar Shukla for his book Blue is Like Blue, translated from the Hindi by Arvind Krishna Mehrotra and Sara Rai, and published by HarperCollins India.
The book won from among over 80 entries by publishers and the winner receives the Thought Beyond Words trophy. The trophy sculpture was designed by architect TS Ramani Sankar and made by Sampath Appasamy of Artistick’s Art Forum.
Set in a small North Indian town, Blue is Like Blue is a collection of short stories detailing the 'smaller-than-life people' who all live in inherent fear about their situation. Concerns include a shortage of money, the fear of being overcharged, and a preoccupation with just getting along life each day, still finding joy as they go about life.
"What is so remarkable about this book is that it elevates things that are mundane, into the magical world. At the same time, it portrays life in a deceptively simple fashion while being subconscious," says Arundhati Subramaniam, one of the members of the jury. The other head of jury was editor Reena Puri.
"In a country where the world of writing is crowded with agony aunts, or film stars, or saffron-clad entrepreneurs, or Bollywood lyricists, or the peddlers of inspirational books, or the ones who describe themselves as foodies or mythologists or social media influencers, it is heartening that the prize has gone to someone like Vinod Kumar Shukla, who, for the past 60 years, from the unglamorous city of Raipur, has been weaving tales that are as down to earth as they are magical," said the translators Mehrotra and Rai about the award.
"I am really pleased at this recognition for the excellence of Shuklaji’s writing as well as the quality of the translation; I hope that this award will encourage many new readers to introduce themselves to Shuklaji’s inimitable world – the best place to start indeed would be with a copy of Blue Is Like Blue," said Udayan Mitra, of HarperCollins India.
The Atta Galatta prizes for English-language writing were instituted in 2015, accepting translations and self-published books as well. Besides the Fiction category, prizes are also awarded for non-fiction. There's a Popular Choice award allocated through a special reader-based jury. And in 2019, a new category was also added to the awards: Best Illustrated Books for Adults. An annual award is also presented for Literary Achievement in Kannada, celebrating their work and contribution to the language.
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Updated Date: Nov 13, 2019 11:40:18 IST