The shortlist for Rabindranath Tagore Literary Prize is out now. The prize is ‘an annual cultural event whose purpose is to reconcile international and Indian writers and artists, to bridge cultural differences, promote peace and education.’ The aim is to ‘reward authors whose efforts to promote compassion, tolerance, mutual understanding, have successfully bridged various divides such as class, caste, ethnicity, gender, age, education.’
“The result”, according to the official website, “is a range between internationally renowned and emerging authors, whose flair, virtuosity and imagination” was mesmerising.
The shortlist includes “Varun Thomas Mathew’s dystopian debut, set in a society whose seemingly perfect congruity is kept in check by memory and identity altering technology, Amitav Ghosh’s take on myth and folklore superimposed on the repercussions of globalisation, distressing retelling of the Nirbhaya tragedy by Raj Kamal Jha, Nirmala Govindarajan’s allegory of the modern-day slavery, to the account of a murder during tribal unrest in Shillong by Bijoya Sawian – the relevance is on point. In Sachin Kundalkar’s haunting fiction, translated from the Marathi by Jerry Pinto, longing and betrayal of siblings seduced by the same man are resonant like chords of a musical instrument. The language in Ranjit Hoskote’s masterpiece of lyrical and semantic associations, is nothing less than an object of wonder. Sudeep Sen is selected for his series of innovative pieces, that are exploring in part desire and illness, Rochelle Potkar for her elegant haibun tackling subtly the intimacy of everyday womanhood. Surprisingly mature poetry of Sonnet Mondal is savory, pensive and aesthetically compelling.”
The winner of the Tagore Prize will be announced at the award ceremony. It is expected to take place in New Delhi in October.
Gun Island by Amitav Ghosh, literary fiction
Taboo by Nirmala Govindarajan, literary fiction
Jonahwhale by Ranjit Hoskote, poetry
The City and the Sea by Raj Kamal Jha, literary fiction
Cobalt Blue by Sachin Kundalkar translated from Marathi into English by Jerry Pinto, literary fiction
The Black Dwarves of the Good Little Bay by Varun Thomas Mathew, literary fiction
Karmic Chanting by Sonnet Mondal, poetry
Paper Asylum by Rochelle Potkar, haibun
Shadow Men by Bijoya Sawian, literary fiction
EroText by Sudeep Sen, literary fiction, experimental fiction