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Perumal Murugan wins JCB Prize for Literature 2023 for ‘Fire Bird’

The award carries a cash prize of 25 lakh for the author and 10 lakh for the translator

Perumal Murugan.(File photo/Mint)

By Team Lounge

LAST PUBLISHED 20.11.2023  |  06:44 AM IST

Author Perumal Murugan won the JCB Prize for Literature for his book Fire Bird on Saturday. Translated from Tamil by Janani Kannan, and originally published as Aalanda Patchi, the book explores the innate human desire for stability.

The winner of the JCB Prize for Literature receives a cash award of 25 lakh, and the translator 10 lakh. 

“In Fire Bird, Perumal Murugan takes a universal story of lives that are tied to land and tells it with astonishing particularity. Janani Kannan's translation carries into English the rhythms not only of Tamil but of an entire way of being," Srinath Perur, head of the jury, said. 

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The jury also included Lounge columnist Somak Ghoshal, playwright Mahesh Dattani, conservation journalist Swati Thiyagarajan, and the surgeon-novelist Kavery Nambisan.

This is the fifth translated work to have won the the annual award that recognises works of fiction by an Indian author . The books was selected from a shortlist of five, which included three translations. 

Other books on the shortlist were The Secret of More by Tejaswini Apte-Rahm, The Nemesis by Manoranjan Byapari, translated from Bengali by V. Ramaswamy , Mansur by Vikramajit Ram and I Named my Sister Silence by Manoj Rupda, translated from Hindi by Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar. Each of the five authors on the shortlist are awarded 1 lakh. If the shortlisted piece is a translation, the translator receives 50,000.

“The JCB Prize continues to uphold excellence and celebrates books that make us lose ourselves in their interior worlds, variegated realities, memorable characters, books that encompass the gamut of our country in unique and incomparable ways," literary director Mita Kapur, said.

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