More than half of The JCB Prize for Literature 2022's long list features translations from various languages of the subcontinent into English. Announced today, this includes two novels from Urdu, one each from Malayalam, Nepali, Hindi, and Bengali. This is the first time a Nepali book features here.
The JCB Prize for Literature is one of the biggest literary awards in India and its first winner, in 2018, was also a book in translation – Jasmine Days, a Malayalam novel by Benyamin, translated by Shahnaz Habib.
The jury for this year's prize is chaired by journalist and editor AS Panneerselvan. The members include historian J Devika, academic Rakhee Balaram, and writers Janice Pariat and Amitabh Bagchi.
Presented annually for “a distinguished” work of fiction, the JCB Prize awards Rs. 25 lakhs to a winner. If this is a translated work, the translator gets ₹10 lakhs, separately.
Shortlisted authors, too, get awarded ₹1 lakh each and any translators receive ₹50,000. This year's shortlist is expected in October, while the final winner will be announced in November.
Among the names on the long list, this is translator Jayasree Kalathil's second nomination – this year she has made the list for translating Sheela Tomy's Malayalam novel Valli. In 2020, she won, along with author S. Hareesh for Moustache.
The winning book in 2021 was Delhi: a Soliloquy, written by M. Mukundan, and translated from the Malayalam by Fathima E.V. and Nandakumar K. Read a piece by him on how this novel took shape, here.
Here is the full long list for 2022:
Imaan, by Manoranjan Byapari, translated from the Bengali by Arunava Sinha (Westland). Read an excerpt here.
Rohzin, by Rahman Abbas, translated from the Urdu by Sabika Abbas, (Penguin Random House India). Read an excerpt here.
The Odd Book of Baby Names, by Anees Salim (Penguin Random House India). Read our review here.
Valli: A Novel, by Sheela Tomy, translated from the Malayalam by Jayasree Kalathil (HarperCollins India). Read our review here.
The Paradise of Food, by Khalid Jawed, translated from the Urdu by Baran Farooqi (Juggernaut). Read a short review here.
Crimson Spring: A Novel, by Navtej Sarna (Aleph Book Company)
Escaping the Land, by Mamang Dai (Speaking Tiger)
Spirit Nights, by Easterine Kire (Simon & Schuster)
Song of the Soil, by Chuden Kabimo Lepcha, translated from the Nepali by Ajit Baral (Rachna Books)