My already huge TBR list increased by 10 books as the 2020 JCB Prize for Literature longlist got announced.

This year’s ‘vast range of submissions’ came from 9 states across India and were written in five languages- Assamese, Bengali, English, Malyalam and Tamil. Out of which the jury- Tejaswini Niranjana (chair), Aruni Kashyap, Ramu Ramanathan and Deepika Sorabjee has chosen 10 books that consist of 3 debut novels, five-out-of-ten women authors and 2 translated works (Malyalam and Bengali).

The readers have been promised an incredible journey through these books as they have been evaluated on the grounds of “the texture, plot of narrative, how compelling the book was, it’s readability, the point of view of the characters and if the language of the character matches that point of view” and “… memorability. Whether it was the memorability of the plot itself, the memorability of the writing or that of the characters, which of the books do we remember? “

Not only does the JCB Prize encourage new authors and regional narrative, it also includes books critically acclaimed internationally like Deepa Anappara’s ‘Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line’ or Annie Zaidi’s ‘Prelude to a Riot’ , as they cross all limits to have been longlisted for 2020 Women’s Prize for Fiction and winning the 2019/2020 Nine Dot’s Prize respectively.

Along with literary fiction, the JCB Prize jury has also included genre fiction entries this year; and has said that “there’s something for every kind of reader”– myth, dystopia, history, romance, technology, politics and family saga.

Here’s the list of 10 books longlisted for the 2020 JCB Prize of Literature:

A Burning by Meghna Majumdar

Debut novel
Genre- Thriller/ Political Fiction
Date of publishing- 2 June, 2020
Pages- 304

Djinn Patrol On The Purple Line by Deepa Anappara

Debut novel
Genre- Coming of age mystery
Date of publishing- 30 January, 2020
Pages- 368

Undertow by Jahnavi Barua

Genre- Family
Date of publishing- 19 February, 2020
Pages- 143

Chosen Spirits by Samit Basu

Genre- Anti dystopian science fiction
Date of publishing- 28 April, 2020
Pages- 238

A Ballad of Remittent Fever by Ashok Mukhopadhayay

(Translated from Bengali by Arunava Sinha)
Genre- Science, medicine, history, epidemics
Date of publishing- 10 April, 2020
Pages- 304

Prelude to a Riot: A Novel by Annie Zaidi

Genre- Political Fiction
Date of publishing- 1 September, 2019
Pages- 192

In Search Of Heer by Manjul Bajaj

Genre- Historical Fiction
Date of publishing- 20 September, 2019

Moustache by S. Hareesh

(Translated from Malayalam by Jayasree Kalathil)
Genre- Contemporary classic + myth and magic
Date of publishing- 31 January, 2020
Pages- 360

The Machine is Learning by Tanuj Solanki

Genre- Literary fiction on impact of Artificial intelligence
Date of publishing- 2 April, 2020
Pages- 256

These, Our Bodies, Possessed by Light by Dharini Bhaskar

Debut novel
Genre- Literary Fiction on Love and Familial history
Date of publishing- 25 November, 2019
Pages- 336

The shortlist of 5 books include:

Djinn Patrol On The Purple Line by Deepa Anappara
Chosen Spirits by Samit Basu
Prelude to a Riot: A Novel by Annie Zaidi
Moustache by S. Hareesh
These, Our Bodies, Possessed by Light by Dharini Bhaskar


Established in 2018, The JCB Prize celebrates Indian writing across a diverse range of languages. Each year, a distinguished work of fiction by an Indian author, either in English or translated in any other language, is presented this 25-lakh award. The global construction equipment manufacturing firm JCB funds this prize. Previously in 2018 and 2019, Jasmine Days by Benyamin and The Far Field by Madhuri Vijay have won this award, respectively. Tejasvini Niranjana, an author and professor of cultural studies, is heading this year’s jury. The Awards Ceremony is set to take place on 7th November.

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