24 November, 2015

Rohini Mohan wins Shakti Bhatt prize

Rohini Mohan’s The Seasons of Trouble has won the Shakti Bhatt First Book Prize 2015. “The shortlist this year was diverse and spectacular, but we unanimously agreed to award the prize to Rohini Mohan,” said judge Samhita Arni, who along with authors Mohammed Hanif and Krys Lee, chose the winner.

Arni added: “Mohan’s book is the stark, brutal, often unsparing portrait of three desperate lives, struggling to navigate the realities and brutalities of war and peacetime in Sri Lanka. The Seasons of Trouble is more than just a meticulously researched work on the Sri Lankan conflict; Mohan’s skillfully-woven and structured narrative testifies to her considerable talent as a storyteller. The careful, deliberate way in which she withholds and later reveals information, her vividly-drawn characters and situations, combine to create a gripping reading experience. The Seasons of Trouble is simultaneously compassionate yet critical, emotionally evocative yet objective.”

This year's shortlist for the Shakti Bhatt First Book Prize had shown more variety than ever before, straddling fiction, non-fiction and the graphic novel. The categories were strongly represented by younger and older voices that reached for the story behind the story, fully exploring the possibilities of both meta-narrative and speculation.

Author Arshia Sattar, co-curator of the shortlist along with poet and writer Jeet Thayil, had noted how The Seasons of Trouble “presented us with the devastation of the human soul which is the inevitable consequence of any conflict”. The prize ceremony will be held in New Delhi, December 22 at the Max Mueller Bhavan.

The Shakti Bhatt First Book Prize is a cash award of 2 lakh rupees, and a trophy. It is funded by the Shakti Bhatt Foundation and the Apeejay Trust.

Shakti Bhatt First Book Prize 2015 Shortlist
• Indra Das, The Devourers
• Saskya Jain, Fire Under Ash
• Raghu Karnad, The Farthest Field
• Rohini Mohan, The Seasons of Trouble
• Bharath Murthy, The Vanished Path
• Shahid Siddiqui, The Golden Pigeon

About the judges

Samhita Arni is the author and illustrator of The Mahabharata - A Child's View. In collaboration with Moyna Chitrakar, she created the New York Times bestselling graphic novel Sita's Ramayana. Her third book, The Missing Queen, was published in 2013. Samhita was a screenwriter on the feature film Good Morning Karachi and worked as the head scriptwriter on The Defenders, a TV show in Kabul, Afghanistan. She was the 2014 writer-in-residence at the FIND - India Europe Foundation for New Dialogues. Earlier this year, she was a British Council - Charles Wallace India Trust Writing Fellow.

Mohammed Hanif has written two novels, Our Lady of Alice Bhatti and A Case of Exploding Mangoes, which won the inaugural Shakti Bhatt First Book Prize in 2008. Hanif has also written a pamphlet The Baloch Who Is Not Missing And Others Who Are.

Krys Lee is the author of the short story collection Drifting House. She is the recipient of the 2014-2015 Rome Prize fellowship in literature by the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the 2012 Story Prize Spotlight Award, and a finalist for the 2012 BBC International Story Prize. Forthcoming publications include her first novel as well as a translation of Young-ha Kim’s novel I Hear Your Voice. She is an assistant professor of creative writing and literature at Yonsei University, Underwood International College.

09 June, 2015

2015 Shakti Bhatt First Book Prize - call for entries

The Shakti Bhatt Foundation is inviting entries for the 2015 Shakti Bhatt First Book Prize. In its eighth year, the prize is a cash award of 2 lakh rupees, and a trophy. Submissions in the following genres are invited: poetry, fiction, graphic novels, creative non-fiction (travel writing, autobiography, biography and narrative journalism), and drama.

The deadline for publishers and individuals to send in first books is July 15, 2015. Books published between June 2014 and June 2015 are eligible. The winner will be announced in November and the prize presentation will take place in Delhi, December 2015.

Authors from the subcontinent are eligible but books must be published in India. Publications must be in English or translated into English from an Indian language. Vanity press publications are ineligible.

This year’s shortlist will be put together by poet and author Jeet Thayil, and author Arshia Sattar, who runs the Sangam House international writers' residency program. Three judges (to be announced) will pick the winning entry.

Books (one copy each) should be sent to the following addresses:
The Shakti Bhatt Foundation, C-6/36, First Floor, SDA, New Delhi 110016;
The Shakti Bhatt Foundation, 011, Maangalya Residences, 6/1, Benson Cross Road, Bangalore 560046.

For further information, mail shaktibhattprize at gmail dot com.