Now in its ninth year, the Shakti Bhatt First Book Prize is set to release its 2016 shortlist. The Shakti Bhatt Foundation has announced the three judges who will select the winner in November; authors Samanth Subramanian, Mahesh Rao and Janice Pariat.
Samanth Subramanian is a New Delhi-based writer and journalist. He has written, among other publications, for the New Yorker, the New York Times, the Guardian, Granta, Intelligent Life and Caravan. His first book, Following Fish: Travels Around the Indian Coast, won the 2010 Shakti Bhatt First Book Prize and was shortlisted for the Andre Simon Award. His second book, This Divided Island: Stories from the Sri Lankan War, won the 2015 Crossword Non Fiction Prize and was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Award and the Ondaatje Prize the same year.
Mahesh Rao is a novelist and short story writer. His fiction has been shortlisted for various awards, including the Commonwealth Short Story Prize. His work has appeared in publications like the New York Times, The Baffler, Caravan and Elle. His debut novel, The Smoke Is Rising, won the Tata First Book Award for fiction, and was shortlisted for the Shakti Bhatt First Book Prize and the Crossword Prize. One Point Two Billion, his collection of short stories, was published in October 2015.
Janice Pariat is the author of Boats on Land: A Collection of Short Stories and Seahorse: A Novel. She was awarded the Young Writer Award from the Sahitya Akademi (Indian National Academy of Letters) and the Crossword Book Award for Fiction in 2013 for Boats on Land. She studied English Literature at St Stephen’s College, Delhi, and History of Art at the School of Oriental and African Studies, London. Her work—including art reviews, cultural features, book reviews, fiction and poetry—has featured in a wide selection of national magazines and newspapers. Currently, she lives in New Delhi, India.
This year’s shortlist will be decided by poet and author Jeet Thayil, and author Arshia Sattar, who runs the Sangam House international writers' residency programme.
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 Priti Paul through the Apeejay Trust.