The Economist Crossword Book Award shortlist announced

The Economist Crossword Book Award 2011 shortlist was recently announced in the Capital with a total of 21 books in the fray across four award categories. These categories are—Indian fiction, Indian non-fiction, Indian translation and children's writing. The shortlist was announced by noted authors, Gurcharan Das, Patrick French, Anita Roy, Ashwin Sanghi and Siddin Vadukut. This is the 11th edition of the awards that honour Indian writing and this year saw an unprecedented 350-plus entries during nominations. Last year, the Award received 300 valid entries in the above mentioned categories. The final winners will be announced on October 18 in Mumbai.

The prize money for the award in all four categories is R3 lakh, and this year's shortlist includes some of the highly talked about and noted works over the past one year. The Indian fiction category includes Amitav Ghosh (for River of Smoke), Anuradha Roy (for The Folded Earth), Rahul Bhattarcharya (for The Sly Company of People Who Care), Jeet Thayil (for Narcopilis), and Jayanto Roy Bhattacharya (for The Storyteller of Marrakesh). The non-fiction category includes names like Naresh Fernandes (for Taj Mahal Foxtrot), Aman Sethi (for A Free Man), MJ Akbar (for Tinderbox), and Sugata Bose (for His Majesty's Opponent Subhash Chandra Bose and India's Struggle Against Empire).

As for the Indian translation category, names like Ayesha Kidwai (for In Freedom's Shade), Catherine Thankamma (for The Araya Woman), and Arunava Sinha (for Seventeen) have made it to the list. There are five books in the children's writing category, however, the jury has decided against giving the award to any book and the list is an honorarium for the books. "Writing for children demands the best and the freshest of a writer's imagination, backed by a high degree of editorial skill on the part of the publisher. The listed books are good reads and tackle a variety of themes, but in the meld of originality, ideas, and narrative skill, they fall short. We looked for empathy rather than discrimination, fun rather than instruction, audacity rather than political correctness, wonder rather than world-weary ennui—and came away disappointed," said the award jury in a statement.

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