Jairam Ramesh, Stephen Alter, Katherine Eban in Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay NIF Book Prize longlist
Jairam RameshFile photo

Jairam Ramesh, Stephen Alter, Katherine Eban in Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay NIF Book Prize longlist

Bengaluru, September 30, 2020

Former Union Minister Jairam Ramesh's biography of V K Krishna Menon, a study of the Himalayas by Stephen Alter and Katherine Eban's account of the collapse of the Ranbaxy empire are among the 12 books in the longlist for the Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay NIF Book Prize 2020 announced here today.

The longlist of 12 books for the third edition of the prize, announced by the New India Foundation (NIF), recognizes and celebrates excellence in non-fiction writings on modern and contemporary India.

"The longlist of 12 books published in 2019, exhibits a compelling view of the multitude of narratives that exist in and about India," a statement from NIF said.

The Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay Book Prize celebrates high-quality, non-fiction literature by emerging writers from all nationalities, published in the previous calendar year. Instituted in 2018, the Book Prize carries a cash award of Rs 15 lakh and a citation.

"From this large pool of books encompassing a wide range of topics, the jury longlisted 12 books for the Prize. These showcase a diversity of approaches and themes─ ranging from political biographies to focussed reportage, anthropology to history, environmental histories to regional studies," it said.

This year’s longlist was selected by a jury including political scientist and author Niraja Gopal Jayal (Chair), historian and critically acclaimed author Ramachandra Guha; entrepreneur and author Nandan Nilekani; historian and author Srinath Raghavan; historian and author Nayanjot Lahiri; and Manish Sabharwal, Chairman, Teamlease Services.

“These excellent books cover a wide array of genres: biographies, investigative reportage, regional histories, environmental studies. They are written by scholars, journalists and activists. It was both exciting and arduous to choose these titles among the over one hundred books submitted for the prize. We congratulate all the authors as well as publishers who feature on the longlist," the jury said.

The 2020 longlist is:

⦁ Mobilizing the Marginalized: Ethnic Parties without Ethnic Movements by Amit Ahuja (Oxford University Press)

⦁ Wild Himalaya: A Natural History of the Greatest Mountain Range on Earth by Stephen Alter (Aleph)

⦁ The Great Agrarian Conquest: The Colonial Reshaping of a Rural World by Neeladri Bhattacharya (Permanent Black/State University of New York Press)

⦁ Bottle of Lies: Ranbaxy and the Dark Side of Indian Pharma by Katherine Eban (Juggernaut)

⦁ Animal Intimacies: Beastly Love in the Himalayas by Radhika Govindrajan (Penguin Random House)

⦁ Kuknalim, Naga Armed Resistance: Testimonies of Leaders, Pastors, Healers and Soldiers by Nandita Haksar and Sebastian M. Hongray (Speaking Tiger)

⦁ A Chequered Brilliance: The Many Lives of V. . Krishna Menon by Jairam Ramesh (Penguin Random House)

⦁ The Unquiet River: A Biography of the Brahmaputra by Arupjyoti Saikia (Oxford University Press)

⦁ Savarkar: Echoes from a Forgotten Past, 1883-1924 by Vikram Sampath (Penguin Random House)

⦁ Panjab: Journeys through Fault Lines by Amandeep Sandhu (Westland)

⦁ 2019: How Modi Won India by Rajdeep Sardesai (HarperCollins Publishers)

⦁ Midnight’s Machines: A Political History of Technology in India by Arun Mohan Sukumar (Penguin Random House)

The Kamaladevi NIF Book Prize builds on the New India Foundation’s mission of sponsoring high-quality research and writing on all aspects of Independent India. The prize was named after Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay, the great patriot, and institution-builder who had contributed significantly to the freedom struggle, to the women’s movement, to refugee rehabilitation and to the renewal of handicrafts.

Previous winners of the prize are Milan Vaishnav for his remarkable debut -When Crime Pays: Money and Muscle in Indian Politics (HarperCollins Publishers) in 2018; and Ornit Shani for her scholarly work- How India Became Democratic (Penguin Random House) in 2019.

The shortlist of six titles of the Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay NIF Book Prize 2020 will be announced on November 16, the release added.


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