Khalid Jawed’s The Paradise of Food, translated into English from Urdu by Baran Farooqi, wins the 2022 JCB Prize for Literature

The Paradise of Food (Juggernaut) by Khalid Jawed, translated from Urdu by Baran Farooqi has won the Rs 25 lakh JCB Prize for Literature. This year’s shortlist of five novels consisted entirely of translated works. While translated works from Bengali and Malayalam have featured on previous JCB shortlists, this is the first time in the five-year-old award’s history that English translations of Hindi, Urdu and Nepali novels made it to the shortlist.

At the award ceremony held in Oberoi Hotel in the capital, Jawed said, “I’m experiencing a real moment of joy today. I didn’t expect this at all. I wrote this novel in 2014 in Urdu, and today its star has shone. Because of my translator, it has been transported into another language and world. Now it has gotten international recognition.” Farooqi said, “It is compelling for me to talk of my father, Mehr Afshan Farooqi, who introduced me to Urdu. I recently discovered Salman Rushdie used a Ghalib quote in one of his own books translated by my father. It goes: ‘If there is a knower of tongues here, fetch him/There’s a stranger in the city/ and he has many things to say.’ Urdu is not spoken as much in our country today, and someone needed to speak for this Urdu.”

The jury consisted of journalist and editor AS Panneerselvan, (Chair); author Amitabha Bagchi; author and academician Rakhee Balaram; translator, historian and academician, J Devika; and author Janice Pariat. Pannerrsalvan said, “Literature is sometimes a window and sometimes a mirror…We get into literary silos, but such prizes help you break them. Such new narratives challenge ideas of what constitutes modern literature. It’s a polyphony that gets due importance due to translation languages, which have no hierarchy among each other. Its intrinsic value is helping people retain hope.”

Mita Kapur, literary director, JCB Prize for Literature said, “There is a wealth of storytelling tradition across India. The JCB Prize for Literature reflects that and is not bound by any one language, creating a level playing field between English and translated works… It has helped us break barriers and create connections with people we can’t talk to.”

Other works in the shortlist announced on October 21 were Tomb of Sand (Penguin Random House India) by Geetanjali Shree, translated from Hindi by Daisy Rockwell; Song of the Soil by Chuden Kabimo (Rachna Books India; FinePrint, Nepal), translated from Nepali by Ajit Baral ; Imaan (Aleph Books) by Manoranjan Byapari, translated from Bengali by Arunava Sinha and Valli (Harper Perennial) by Sheela Tomy, translated from the Malayalam.

Note: This news piece was originally published in indianexpress and used purely for non-profit/non-commercial purposes exclusively for Human Rights.

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