“Popular Choice” Rules at Indian Book Awards

In News by Dennis Abrams

Janice Pariat and Jerry Pinto shared the fiction prize at this year's Crossword Book Awards in India.

Janice Pariat and Jerry Pinto shared the fiction prize at this year’s Crossword Book Awards in India.

By Dennis Abrams

The winner in the fiction category...

One of two winners in the fiction category…

The Times of India reports that “’popular choice’ is not a phrase many would associate with the world of books. But the 12th edition of the Crossword Book Awards that took place at the Times Literary Carnival on Friday, made a happy exception.”

This was the 12th annual awards presented by the popular Indian bookstore chain Crossword. With more than 500 entries (based on booksales) in the initial longlist, “We read a heartening and dizzying variety of fiction from crime to literary sagas on various subjects, some with very interesting and unexpected illustrations,” said writer Usha K.R., a jury member for the fiction category. “Magically, all three of us jury members for the category identified the same five books.”

The non-fiction category alone saw 162 entries. “Indian writing in non-fiction has learnt to combine the art of dealing with large things intelligently and in a manner that would appeal to the layman too,” said Harsh Sethai, a consulting editor with Semiar Magazine who was a jury member on the non-fiction panel.

The winners:

Em and The Big Hoom by Jerry Pinto (Aleph) and Boats on Land by Janice Pariat (Random House) jointly for Indian fiction.

Righteous Republic by Ananya Vajpeyi (Harvard Business Press) and From the Ruins of Empire by Pankaj Mishra (Penguin) jointly for Indian non-fiction.

Wisha Wozzariter by Payal Kapadia (Penguin) and Book Uncle and Me by Uma Krishnaswami (Scholastic) jointly for Children’s writing.

A Life in Words by Ismat Chughtai, translated by Dr. M. Asaduddin (Penguin) for Indian language translation.

The Bankster by Ravi Subramanian (Rupa Publications) for popular category.

About the Author

Dennis Abrams

Dennis Abrams is a contributing editor for Publishing Perspectives, responsible for news, children's publishing and media. He's also a restaurant critic, literary blogger, and the author of "The Play's The Thing," a complete YA guide to the plays of William Shakespeare published by Pentian, as well as more than 30 YA biographies and histories for Chelsea House publishers.