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Perumal Murugan’s novel ‘Fire Bird’ becomes the winner of 6th JCB Price for Literature – Bollywood Keeda

New Delhi. The novel Fire Bird, written in Tamil language by Perumal Murugan and translated into English by Janani Kannan and published by Penguin Random House India, has been awarded the JCB Price for Literature 2023. Under this, the writer was awarded a prize money of Rs 25 lakh. Apart from this, the translator was awarded Rs 10 lakh.

At the felicitation ceremony held at Hotel The Taj Mahal, New Delhi, Lord Bamford, Chairman, JCB Group, in a virtual address announced the winners of the JCB Price for Literature. On this occasion, Deepak Shetty, CEO and Managing Director, JCB India Limited, on behalf of Mr. Lord Bamford, presented a beautiful artwork ‘Mirror Melting’, created by two Delhi based artists Thukral and Tagra, as a tribute to the writer Perumal Murugan. It was received by the book’s Tamil publisher and English edition editor Manasi Subramaniam, because the author of the winning book, Perumal Murugan and translator Janani Kannan were not present at the felicitation ceremony due to some reason.

Talking about the award, Deepak Shetty said, “The JCB Price for Literature was established by Mr. Lord Bamford as a symbol of the Bamford family’s commitment and affection for India. “In a span of just six years, it has carved a niche for itself in the literary world due to its originality, rewarding writing in Indian languages ​​representing diverse cultures and celebrating their success.”

Elaborating on his views, he said, “The Indianness of this award reflects the diversity of our country. Every year we get the privilege of meeting writers and translators from different parts of India and this trend has continued this year too. We are glad that Indian and global readers, especially the youth, are now getting the opportunity to experience Indian writing through this award. We hope to continue introducing this community of our readers to the best of contemporary Indian fiction every year.”

He said, in this novel which takes human emotions to different horizons, Perumal Murugan seriously weaves his own life experience. Murugan tells about the sting of his displacement, the period of change and his experience of his established life and its breaking. In the novel, the idea of ​​finding stability in our impermanence has been depicted in words in such a way that it shakes the reader’s preconceived notions. In the Tamil novel Aalandapatchi, which is extremely difficult to translate, there is mention of a mysterious fire bird in Tamil literature, which is forced by its tendency to migrate. This imaginary fire bird presents a beautiful metaphor of the illusory and temporary nature of human beings.

Even before literary director Meeta Kapoor ji came on the stage, the function started with the Dastangoi presentation ‘Dastan-e-Attila’, which was conceptualized by Dr. Bakul Dev on the lines of RK Narayan’s Malgudi Days. It has been written by Vineeta Dixit and Saeed Alam. It was presented and directed by Fauzia Dastango at the ceremony. Fire Bird by Perumal Murugan has been selected from the diverse shortlist of JCB Price for Literature by a five-member jury comprising Srinath Perur (Chairman of the Jury), Mahesh Dattani, Somak Ghoshal, Kaveri Nambisan and Swathi Thiagarajan. .

Srinath Perur of the jury said, “In Fire Bird, Perumal Murugan takes a universal story of down-to-earth life and presents it with astonishing specificity. Janani Kannan, in her English translation, has not only brought the rhythm of Tamil language into English but she has also woven the rhythm of life into it.”

Mahesh Dattani said, “The discovery of new fertile lands and the familial conflict that compels this arduous journey, juxtaposes brilliantly with Muthannan’s determined effort to overcome his passive nature. The story is not steeped in sentimentality or demands sympathy for the protagonist. Both women have significant dramatic purpose and enough willpower to influence the outcome. Paati is one of the best grandmother characters, who reminds me of Pather Panchali.”

Somak Ghoshal said, “Intricate and entertaining from the first sentence, Perumal Murugan’s Firebird is a masterpiece of its kind. A story of displacement and migration, it reflects a way of life that has long been lost from our modern consciousness. Values ​​that have faded from our minds and a deep sense of belonging to the land that we may no longer experience. A simple poetry of life, delicately capturing the nuances of man-animal symbiosis and rebellion against tradition, comes to the fore in Perumal Murugan’s remarkably rich work in the form of a great and memorable novel, carefully and beautifully narrated by Janani Kannan. Has been brought to life in English.

Kaveri Nambisan said, “In the heart of rural South India, a young man sets out in his bullock cart to find a land where he can build a new future away from his family. The reasons for his separation from his family and the difficulties he faced during the journey match the slow speed of the bullock cart and the challenges he faces in trying to survive daily. The novel is a simple but emotional portrayal of a life that is already fading from our collective social memory, and needs to be preserved.

Swati Thiagarajan said, “This is a powerfully thought-provoking story of the life of an ordinary person. The story of a man searching for land, belonging and home after leaving his family, community and acquaintances. For English readers who are not connected to rural Tamil Nadu, it will immerse you in a world and a time that will enrich your understanding of a part of our country in a way that will leave no trace at the end of the novel. You will be lost in it till the pages.”

Discussing the journey of JCB Price for Literature so far, Literary Director Meeta Kapoor said, “JCB Price for Literature has maintained its excellence. Celebrating literary creations that compel us to lose ourselves in our inner worlds, diverse realities, memorable characters, books that span the gamut of our country in unique and incomparable ways.”

Rishabh Garg

Published by
Rishabh Garg

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