Jaipur: US based-Indian author Madhuri Vijay's debut novel, The Far Field on Saturday bagged this year's JCB prize for Literature, the most expensive Indian award for writing.
Vijay's debut novel that follows one young woman's search for a lost figure from her childhood, a journey that carries her from southern India to Kashmir and to the brink of a devastating political reckoning, was chosen by a five-member jury chaired by Indian filmmaker and environmentalist Pradip Krishen.
He said the decision was taken unanimously by the jury that also comprised author and critic Anjum Hassan, writers K R Meera and Parvati Sharma, and economist and former Chief Economic Adviser to the Government of India Arvind Subramanian.
Vijay, who wasn't present at the award ceremony here due to her pregnancy, will receive a cash prize of Rs 25 lakh, along with a sculpture by Delhi artist duo Thukral & Tagra entitled "Mirror Melting.
The Far Field is an impressively ambitious novel of stunning emotional and psychological acuity. This deeply introspective story, located in troubled Kashmir, is also a panoramic exploration of our ideas and assumptions about nationhood. Rendered in visually evocative, lucid prose, and driven by a fragile but compelling narrator-protagonist, this tragic novel teems with unforgettable characters. We are proud to celebrate the arrival of a luminous new talent in Indian literature," the jury said.
Vijay is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop and the recipient of a Pushcart. Her writing has appeared in Best American Non-required Reading, Narrative Magazine and Salon, among other publications.
Born and raised in Bengaluru, she now lives in Hawaii where she teaches children at a school.
The other books shortlisted for this year's JCB Prize for Literature were included Manoranjan Byapari's "There's Gunpowder in the Air, Perumal Murugan's twin novels "Trial by Silence" and "Lonely Harvest, Roshan Ali's "Ib's Endless Search for Satisfaction", and Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar's "My Father's Garden.