“Blue is Like Blue” by Vinod Kumar Shukla, translated from the Hindi by Arvind Krishna Mehrotra and Sara Rai, has been awarded the inaugural Mathrubhumi Book of Year Award 2020.
The book has been published under HarperCollins India’s translations imprint, Harper Perennial. This is the second win for this book, which previously won the Atta Galatta Bangalore Literature Festival Book Prize 2019 for Best Fiction.
The book was selected by a jury panel including Dr. Shashi Tharoor, Chandrashekhara Kambara and Dr. Sumana Roy. While declaring the award, Roy commented that had he been a European, Shukla would have been a world renowned writer now.
The award comprises a prize money of Rs. 5 lakh, a plaque designed by Riyas Komu and a certificate.
The award was presented by Margaret Busby, the Jury Chair for the Booker Prize 2020 at the Mathrubhumi International Festival of Letters (MBIFL) on 31st January. MBIFL is being held at Thiruvananthapuram from 30 January to 2 February, 2020. Ananth Padmanabhan, CEO HarperCollins India and Udayan Mitra, Publisher– Literary at HarperCollins India received the prize on Shukla’s behalf.
“I hope that this award will encourage many new readers to pick up a copy of Blue Is Like Blue, and discover Vinod Kumar Shukla’s unique world, and his inimitable way with words”, Udayan said on the success of the book.
Also Read: Shortlist of the Mathrubhumi Book of the Year Award 2020 announced: Know more about the shortlisted books
Speaking on the award, the translators Mehrotra and Rai said, “When we in India think of writing we think of film stars, agony aunts, foodies, mythologists, or social media influencers. Writing, as any writer will tell you, is glamorous activity. It is Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram; it is a fashion show in which the models, both male and female, walk the ramp, each model displaying a perfect book, their own. By being perhaps India’s most unglamorous writer, the writer in rubber chappals who makes his home in Raipur where a flock of ducks looks like a duck, Vinod Kumar Shukla is glamorous in a different way. He turns the world’s attention away from himself to his writing, which is as down to earth as it is magical and which has now, with the Mathrubhumi Book of the Year Award, been given national recognition.”
“Blue is Like Blue” is a collection of short stories which is set in a provincial small town in North India, dealing with ‘smaller-than-life’ people.
Shukla is a poet and novelist from Raipur, Chhattisgarh. In 1999, he received the Sahitya Akademi Award for his novel ‘Deewar Mein Ek Khidki Rehti Thi’.
Other books written by Vinod Kumar Shukla and published by HarperCollins India are – ‘Once It Flowers’, ‘Moonrise from the Green Grass Roof’, ‘The Windows in Our House Are Little Doors’, all translated by Satti Khanna, and ‘Yasi Rasi Ta’ (in Hindi).
Read an excerpt from “Blue is Like Blue” here.