Debutant author Madhuri Vijay was on Saturday named the winner of the Rs 25 lakh JCB Prize for Literature, India’s richest, for her novel, “The Far Field”, which sets a complex personal story against the backdrop of the conflict in the 1990s in Kashmir, It was the unanimous choice of the jury.
Vijay also received the Prize trophy, a sculpture by Delhi artist duo Thukral & Tagra entitled Mirror Melting.
“The Far Field” was selected by a panel of five judges: Pradip Krishen, filmmaker and environmentalist (Chair); Anjum Hasan, author and critic; K.R. Meera, author; Parvati Sharma, author; and Arvind Subramanian, economist and former Chief Economic Adviser to the Government of India.
“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 citation read.
The prize encourages translations and aims to introduce new audiences to works of Indian literature written in languages other than their own.
Madhuri Vijay is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and the recipient of a Pushcart Prize. Her writing has appeared in Best American Nonrequired Reading, Narrative Magazine and Salon, among other publications.
Madhuri was born and raised in Bengaluru and now lives in Hawaii where she teaches in a school.