This year's Shakti Bhatt First Book Prize shortlist has an interesting line-up of authors - a UK-born broadcaster-academic, an Indian-American, a teacher from Abu Dhabi, an oral historian, a Pakistani journalist and editor of a travel magazine.
This We That Are Young (Preti Taneja), Ants among Elephants (Sujatha Gidla), Temporary People (Deepak Unnikrishnan), Remnants of a Separation (Aanchal Malhotra), The Sensational Life and Death of Qandeel Baloch (Sanam Maher) and How to Travel Light (Shreevatsa Nevatia) will vie for the Rs 2 lakh award.
This year's judges, Githa Hariharan, Sampurna Chattarji and Raghu Karnad, will announce the winner in November.
The shortlist reflects the experience of the outsider, the one who does not fit because of sexuality, caste, class and gender and a hundred other real and imagined reasons, a statement said.
According to author Arshia Sattar, co-curator of the shortlist, As the 21st century settles into a morass of prejudice, hatred and violence against the perceived Other, it is writers who will remind us of the essential humanity that we all share, however different the Other may look or feel or behave.
Writers may not be able to change the world, but they can help us mourn for those that have been vilified, ostracised and killed. This year's shortlisted books are verses in the elegy that is slowly but surely being composed for all those whom we don't even know we have lost.
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