Manu Joseph has bagged The Hindu Best Fiction Award 2010 for his debut novel Serious Men’.
The award, instituted by The Hindu Literary Review as a prelude to celebrating its 20th year in 2011, carries a cash purse of Rs. 5 lakh and a plaque. From among the 75 entries of Indian fiction writing in English that were received, a short list of 11 books was made by a panel of Chennai-based judges comprising Shreekumar Varma, novelist; K. Srilata, fiction writer, poet and academic; Parvathi Nayar, artist and critic; and Ranvir Shah, founder, Prakiriti Foundation.
The shortlisted books are The Thing About Thugs by Tabish Khair, Eunuch Park by Palash Krishna Mehrotra, Way to Go by Upamanyu Chatterjee, If I Could Tell You by Soumya Bhattacharya, The Pleasure Seekers by Tishani Doshi, Neti, Neti by Anjum Hasan, The To-Let House by Daisy Hasan, Venus Crossing by Kalpana Swaminathan, Come, Before Evening Falls by Manjul Bajaj, Serious Men by Manu Joseph, and Saraswati Park by Anjali Joseph.
The winner will be selected on November 1, 2010 by a panel of eminent personalities in the world of Indian Literature — Mukul Kesavan, author and essayist; Shashi Deshpande, Sahitya Akademi Award winning novelist; Brinda Bose, academic and critic; and Jai Arjun Singh, literary critic. The award will be presented by renowned writer and historian Nayantara Sahgal. On the occasion, she will also introduce her latest book ‘Jawaharlal Nehru: Civilising A Savage World’ published by Penguin India. She will be in conversation with N. Ram, Editor-in-Chief, The Hindu.
The former Governor of West Bengal, Gopalkrishna Gandhi, will unveil The Hindu Best Fiction Award plaque. The evening’s event will include a sarod concert by Ayaan Ali Khan and Amaan Ali Khan. The award ceremony is supported by Ford India.
The Literary Review was launched in November 1991 as part of The Hindu’s commitment to promote good literature — both in English and Indian languages. Published on the first Sunday of every month, it is the only supplement in India devoted to books and literature brought out by a daily newspaper. The all-colour six-page supplement has featured well-known authors and poets including Salman Rushdie, U.R. Ananthamurthy, Namita Gokhale, Bulbul Sharma, Vikram Chandra, Shobaa De, Kiran Desai, Shashi Deshpande, Keki Daruwala and Arundhati Subramaniam.
Newer and emerging writers like Arvind Adiga, Daljit Nagra, Benjamin Zephaniah, Rana Dasgupta, Kamila Shamsie and Mohsin Hamid have also made their presence felt in its pages.
Writer and historian Nayantara Sahgal presented the award, which carries a cash prize of Rs.5 lakh and a plaque, to Mr. Joseph, who is the Deputy Editor of the Open magazine.
The book was a “wonderful read” and the author had avoided literary gimmicks in a narrative style where “everything is subordinated to the telling of the story,” she said.
In his acceptance speech, Mr. Joseph said “an award is only as good as its shortlist,” and that it was an honour for his book to be judged alongside the works of good writers.
The shortlist was finalised by a panel of Chennai-based judges comprising Shreekumar Varma, novelist; K. Srilata, poet-academic; Parvathi Nayar, artist-critic; and Ranvir Shah, founder of the Prakiriti Foundation.
The event was sponsored by Ford along with associate sponsors Shriram Chits, VGN, Parker, UniverCell, reading partner Landmark, and TV partner NDTV Hindu.
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