Shashi Tharoor, Shobhaa De on Oxford Bookstore's Book Cover Prize jury

New Delhi: Author-politician Shashi Tharoor, columnist and novelist Shobhaa De, and philanthropist and art patron Feroze Gujral will be part of the new jury for the fifth edition of the Oxford Bookstore Book Cover Prize.

Author, publisher and literary historian Namita Gokhale, and director of Apeejay Surrendra Group Priti Paul will also be on the judging panel.

The annual award that carries a cash prize as well as a trophy, this year, will accept entries of book covers by designers of Indian origin and published between April 2018 and March 2019.

"The jury members are all pre-eminent in their particular fields and share a love and commitment to books and reading. The varied interests of these eminent jurors will help create a rich and diverse perspective for the selection," Oxford bookstores said.

Established in 2015 by the Oxford Bookstore, the prize awards brilliance in book design, and recognises cover design as an integral part of the success of a book.

"The prize appreciates the importance of the balance of graphics and narrative, particularly in our increasingly visual age, and believes that a book cover interprets and decodes the ensuing text in crucial ways that contribute to its ultimate success," the bookstore added.

Tharoor said the prize was a "timely and effective" way to recognise the skills that help get a book, and sometimes even lesser-known authors noticed.

"Literally one of the oldest of cliches in the English language is to never judge a book by its cover. But the fact remains that a book is often plucked off a shelf or attracts attention in a bookstore because of its cover. The art of designing a cover to attract buyers and readers, while encapsulated the essential mood of the book, requires special skills," Tharoor said.

While the shortlisted designers will be announced at the Apeejay Kolkata Literary Festival next year, the final winner will be declared at the Jaipur Book Mark 2020, of Jaipur Literature Festival.

Earlier recipients of the award include designer Bena Sareen for "Talking of Justice" by late Leila Seth, designer Pinaki De for Kunal Basu's "Kalkatta", and Maithili Doshi Aphale for Ruskin Bond's "Himalaya".

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