Mita Kapur appointed new literary director of JCB Prize for Literature

Mita Kapur

New Delhi: Mita Kapur, founder and CEO of India's leading literary consultancy Siyahi, has been appointed the next literary director of the JCB Prize for Literature, the JCB Literature Foundation announced on Thursday.

"As someone who has had the unique privilege of working with writers, publishers, creators and artists in shaping Indian literature as well as other critical aspects of culture such as music, arts, and food, Mita will bring new and wider perspectives while maintaining the core mission of the prize to take the best of contemporary literary fiction by Indian authors to an ever broader national and international audience," the foundation said in a statement.

Kapur has several books to her credit including, "The F-Word", a food book, memoir and travelogue. She has also edited "Chillies and Porridge: Writing Food", an anthology of essays on food.

As a freelance journalist, she writes regularly for different newspapers and magazines on social and development issues along with travel, food and lifestyle.

She is also the producer for 'Mountain Echoes - The Bhutan festival of Art, Literature and Culture', the 'Woman Up! Summit', and 'Soul Connect Experiences'.

"Sometimes the only way to make sense of this world is to escape it. To gain perspective, we must live beyond who we are - culturally, linguistically and socially. Great fiction allows us to shed our skin and see through different eyes. And in our fractured times, what greater blessing can we ask for?

"Even in India's rich literary world, millions of stories remain untold because they aren't translated into the language of the majority. The uneven quality of translation often means that the nuances of the original language are lost. I'm proud to be associated with the JCB Prize for Literature, which rewards novels that hold up a mirror to contemporary Indian society. I hope the prize encourages readers to look at India's literary culture as a whole-in translation, in Indian languages, and in English," Kapur said.

She will take over the responsibilities of the literary director from January 2020, succeeding Rana Dasgupta, who completed his two-year tenure with the foundation earlier this month. Dasgupta helped launch the prize in 2018.

The JCB Prize for Literature carries an amount of Rs 25 lakh, and is awarded each year to a distinguished work of fiction by an Indian writer. It is the most expensive Indian award for writing.

 While in 2018, the prize was awarded to "Jasmine Days" by Benyamin, which was translated from Malayalam by Shahnaz Habib, this year it was bagged by "The Far Field", Madhuri Vijay's debut novel.

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