Benyamin bags India’s richest book prize

New Delhi: Benyamin, the author of ‘Jasmine Days’, translated from Malayalam into English by Shahnaz Habib, is the winner of the first edition of the Rs 25 lakh JCB Prize for Literature, India’s richest literary prize.

The award was announced at a specially curated dinner event on late Wednesday evening here. ‘Jasmine Days’ is published by Juggernaut Books.

The book was first published in Malayalam in 2014 as Mullappoo Niramulla Pakalukal and then translated into English by Shahnaz Habib.

The winning author congratulated all the other shortlisted authors and described each of them as equally deserving. “It is one of ten most wonderful evenings of my life,” Benyamin said, pointing out that authors are often at the receiving end of troubles.

“It was fantastic. We were high on books for six months and the books enriched us,” said Vivek Shanbhag, the chair of the jury.

Literary Director of the Prize Rana Dasgupta thanked all shortlisted authors and publishers and said that it was a great experience for the organisers.

The other shortlisted authors for the first edition of the prize were Perumal Murugan for ‘Poonachi or The Story of a Black Goat,’ Shubhangi Swarup for ‘Latitudes of Longing,’ Amitabha Bagchi for ‘Half The Night Is Gone’ and Anuradha Roy for ‘All The Lives We Never Lived.’