Wednesday, October 18th, 2023: The New India Foundation announces the Longlist of the Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay NIF Book Prize 2023 for the finest non-fiction about modern and contemporary Indian history. The longlist of the sixth edition comprises 10 remarkable books which provide a lens into a better understanding of how Independent India has come to be today.
The Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay NIF Book Prize (KCBP) is India’s largest and most respected Book Prize for non-fiction. Awarded to the finest literature published in the previous calendar year, it is open to writers of all nationalities who are researching any aspect of Indian history after Independence. The Prize was instituted in 2018 and carries an award of INR 15 lakhs as well as a citation at the Bangalore Literature Festival.
Each year, the Prize receives an enormous number of nominations from around the world and a diverse range of books about key aspects of India’s legal, economic, socio-cultural, political, and other histories. The Jury has selected 10 books from amongst these as the Longlist for the sixth edition of the KCBP.
The 2023 KCBP Longlist was selected by an eminent Jury, including political scientist Niraja Gopal Jayal (Chair of the Book Prize), historian Srinath Raghavan, columnist-writer Navtej Sarna, columnist-writer Yamini Aiyar, and entrepreneur Manish Sabharwal.
Jury Comment: “The Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay Book Prize Longlist this year is a testament to greater diversity in recent non-fiction. Each of the 10 selected books extends, enriches and nuances our understanding of India today – whether through biography and memoir, or art history, media history, constitutional history, urban history, or the evolution of political ideas and institutions. We hope readers will enjoy this rich selection of books on different aspects of contemporary India.”
The 2023 Longlist (in alphabetical order) is:
● Sudeep Chakravarti — The Eastern Gate: War and Peace in Nagaland, Manipur and India’s Far East [Simon & Schuster]
● Achyut Chetan — Founding Mothers of the Indian Republic: Gender Framing of the Politics of the Constitution [Cambridge University Press]
● Rotem Geva — Delhi Reborn: Partition and Nation Building in India’s Capital [Stanford University Press]
● Vinay Lal — Insurgency and the Artist: The Art of the Freedom Struggle in India [Roli Books]
● Nayanika Mathur — Crooked Cats: Beastly Encounters in the Anthropocene [HarperCollins]
● Akshaya Mukul — Writer, Rebel, Soldier, Lover: The Many Lives of Agyeya [Penguin]
● Mrinal Pande — The Journey of Hindi Language Journalism in India: From Raj to Swaraj and Beyond [Orient BlackSwan]
● Gita Ramaswamy — Land, Guns, Caste, Woman: The Memoir of a Lapsed Revolutionary [Navayana]
● Ronojoy Sen — House of the People: Parliament and the Making of Indian Democracy [Cambridge University Press]
● Taylor C. Sherman — Nehru’s India: A History in Seven Myths [Princeton University Press]
The Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay NIF Book Prize builds on the New India Foundation’s mission of sponsoring high-quality research and writing on all aspects of the world’s largest democracy. Works written originally in English or translated into English are eligible across a range of genres. The prize was named to honour the legacy of Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay: the great patriot and institution-builder who contributed significantly to the freedom struggle, to the women’s movement, to refugee rehabilitation and to the renewal of Indian theatre and handicrafts.
Shekhar Pathak was last year’s winner of the KCBP for his environmental history The Chipko Movement: A People’s History, translated from Hindi by Manisha Chaudhry (Permanent Black). Dinyar Patel won the 4th edition of the Prize for his definitive biography Naroji: Pioneer of Indian Nationalism (Harvard University Press). In 2020, the KCBP was jointly awarded to Amit Ahuja for his debut Mobilizing the Marginalized: Ethnic Parties without Ethnic Movements (Oxford University Press) and Jairam Ramesh for his biography A Chequered Brilliance: The Many Lives of V.K. Krishna Menon (Penguin Random House). Ornit Shani was recognised for her scholarly work, How India Became Democratic: Citizenship and the Making of the Universal Franchise (Penguin Random House) in 2019 and Milan Vaishnav for his remarkable debut When Crime Pays: Money and Muscle in Indian Politics (HarperCollins Publishers) in 2018.
About the New India Foundation
Based in Bengaluru, the core activity of the New India Foundation is the NIF Book Fellowships which have been awarded to scholars and writers for two decades to enable the highest standard of research and writing about India after Independence, resulting in the publication of 32 books covering an extraordinary range of topics. The NIF Translation Fellowships (currently accepting applications) were instituted in 2021 and expand upon the core idea of fostering non-fiction by translating knowledge texts from 10 Indian languages to English.
The NIF Book and Translation Fellowships are awarded in alternate years. The 2nd round of the NIF
Translation Fellowships is currently open for applications; please visit the website for further details.
Ramachandra Guha, Nandan Nilekani, Niraja Gopal Jayal, Manish Sabharwal and Srinath
Raghavan are the Trustees of the New India Foundation.
The Shortlist for the Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay NIF Book Prize 2022 will be announced in the third week of November 2023.
The final winner will be announced on December 1st, 2023.
Attached herewith is the press release along with a YouTube video providing comprehensive details about the KamalaDevi Chattopadhyay NIF Book Prize 2023.