Big little Book award for Author (Bengali)
Reacting to her win, Nabaneeta Dev Sen said,
“I am very honoured indeed. I feel lucky. This kind of recognition is going to help take Indian literature for children to new heights.”
Big little Book award for Illustrator
Commenting on her win, Proiti Roy said,
“It is such an honour. This means a lot not just to me but all the children’s illustrators in India. To recognise our work, to get this kind of appreciation, it does mean a lot.”
I’m glad being one of the shortlisted authors, but do not feel morose to be one of 100 writers, too. In fact, I feel most prized when I realise that I have been able to squeeze myself in any of my writings.
Amarendra Chakravorty is a poet, writer and travel-filmmaker who is also the founder-editor of the Bengali travel magazine Bhraman. He has written a number of books for children. His books Amazoner Jongole, Hiru Dakat andShada Ghora are quite well known. Many of his books have been translated into regional as well as foreign languages. His book Gorillar Chokh won the Bal Sahitya Purashkar of the Sahitya Academy. His penchant for travel and adventure comes through in his writing. He is one of the critically acclaimed authors writing in the children’s literature genre in Bengal today.
“Amarendra Chakravorty has worked in a variety of forms in the last few decades including prose and poetry, not restricting himself to any one mode of storytelling. He has continued to reinvent himself, working quietly, and has not overproduced or written according to any formula. In fact, very few of his themes and subjects repeat themselves.”
I did not know that a private organisation like Tata Trust awards authors for children’s literature. Children’s literature has not received its due recognition for awards. It is a source of immense pride that my work has been selected.
Kartik Ghosh is a very well received author of present day Bengali children’s literature. Born in a small village in Arambagh, Hooghly District, he went on to work in the editorial team of various Bengali newspapers and magazines. He has written short stories, novels, fairy-tales, poems and explored various other genres through his writing. He has received several accolades, including the National Award for Children’s literature for his book Ekta Meye Eka. His books are enjoyed by young and adult readers alike. His books Juifuler Rumal, Cholo Chiriakhana, Shei Chheleta and Pyakatir Nouka are especially popular. Nature plays a very beautiful and tender role in most of his works, which is reminiscent of his upbringing amidst nature.
“Kartik Ghosh has a distinctive style attuned to a specific age group – early childhood. His writing is focused on (and circumscribed by) the range of everyday experiences. He plays with an imaginary world, abstract ideas and nature, following only a thin outline of plot in most of his books. He infuses innocence and lightness in his stories by hatching simple plots and keeping them brief. His language is fluent, uncomplicated, and never appears forced or contrived.”
I feel lucky!
Nabaneeta Dev Sen has been writing for children since 1979. She is renowned as a feminist author and has also vastly written for adults. She has been the recipient of various prestigious awards such as the Sahitya Academy Award and the Bharatiya Bhasha Parishad Award, as well as the Padma Shree. She has written books spanning across several genres – novels, travelogues, short stories and plays. Her contribution to contemporary Bengali literature cannot be ignored. Her stories explore a wide range of human emotions, and often have strong female central characters. She retired from the field of academics in 2002 (she was a professor of Comparative Literature at Jadavpur University and a visiting professor at many other universities overseas). Her writings reflect her fine sense of humour as well as a nuanced understanding of the complex social reality of our times.
“Nabaneeta Dev Sen is remarkable for producing a body of work which treat children not just as children but young adults. She is never patronising in tone, and her stories deal with a variety of themes which are complex and nuanced. Her characters are fully fleshed and never cardboard cut-outs. Her work is characterised by originality at various levels, a rare intelligence that provokes laughter and reflection, often bordering on the vulnerable. Her writing focuses on exploring interpersonal relationships across several generations and bringing in multiple perspectives.”
More than awards writing is important to me.
A prolific writer of contemporary literature in Bengal, Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay has engaged readers across generations. He has written extensively both for children and for adults. Many of his books have been adapted for the big screen by acclaimed directors. He is the recipient of several awards such as the Sahitya Academy Award, Ananda Puroshkar and others. His Monojder Adbhut Bari, Goshaibaganer Bhoot and Patalghar are treasured by young and old alike. His writings explore the many facets of human nature, and are lively and heartfelt. He has experimented with several genres, including science fiction, adventure and detective stories for both young adults and adults. He is presently associated with the Ananda Bazar Patrika magazine, Desh.
“Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay marries the mundane with the extra-ordinary with utmost ease, creating a unique fictional space that the reader is drawn into. His incredible sense of humour and unique vision have created a world where the nonsense and the unreal co-exist with the real in perfect harmony. Meeting the motley bunch of Shirshendu-esque characters in any of his innumerable books for children is a treat in itself. Both his arrays of characters as well as his inimitable humour are quintessentially Bengali.”
The award invites public nomination. Anyone can nominate. Nomination forms are filled and submitted online. A maximum of 3 authors and 3 illustrators can be nominated by each person. Self-nomination is not accepted.
After nomination closes, a longlist is drawn from the nominated list in consultation with the respective juries. Publishers are requested for copies of the books of longlisted authors and illustrators. In 2 to 3 months, the jury independently shortlists authors and illustrators. Thereafter, over a meeting the winner author and illustrator are decided.
Winners are announced at the Tata Lit Live! the Mumbai Lit Fest in November, every year.
Abhijit Gupta is Professor of English at Jadavpur University and Director, Jadavpur University Press. He is co-editor, along with Swapan Chakravorty, of the Book History in India series of which three volumes are out: Print Areas, Moveable Types and Founts of Knowledge. He and his team have created an electronic bibliographic database and location register of Bengali books from 1801-1914, the first such initiative in a South Asian language, and is currently associated with the ‘Two Centuries of Indian Print’ project at the British Library. He was associate editor for South Asia for the Oxford Companion to the Book. His other research areas include science fiction, graphic novels, physical cultures and the nineteenth century. He has translated from and into Bengali and English.
Bidisha Ghosh is a teacher at Barah Sri Gouranga Vidyalaya, a rural secondary government school in Birbhum, West Bengal. She has a Masters in Science and a Bachelors in Education from Visva Bharati University. Life for Bidisha has been a joyful ride with theatre, writing and music keeping company. She is associated with ‘Jatok Library’ a book club for children in Santiniketan. Her book “Shonkhya Bhooter Golpo’ was published in 2013 and is an adoption of the best seller ‘The Number Devil’ by Hans Magnus. Two more children’s books and a book of rhymes are in the pipeline. She writes regularly on various social and educational issues in several journals and social sites. She is interested in nurturing children’s creativity through stories and improvising them theatrically and musically.
Chandril Bhattacharya is an essayist, poet and lyricist. He has authored eight books and won a National Award for writing lyrics in the Bengali film Antaheen. He is a member of a popular Bangla Band Chandrabindoo. He currently works in the Editorial Department of the largest circulated Bengali daily Anandabazar Patrika.
Gargi Gangopadhyay is a lecturer in English at Ramakrishna Sarada Mission Vivekananda Vidyabhavan. As an invited lecturer, she has taught children’s literature as part of M.A. courses at other institutions like Presidency and Lady Brabourne College. Her doctoral thesis engaged with children’s print culture in Bengal in the context of British imperialism. Under an Arts Research and Documentation grant from IFA, she has put together a public-domain web-resource for documentation of 19th C Bengali children’s books. Her current research interests include children’s books, history of childhood and studies in travel-writing. Besides an academic interest in childhood studies, she nurtures a passion in publishing for children, viewing picture and story books as powerful mediums for education and inspiration.
Rimli Bhattacharya trained in Comparative Literature at Jadavpur and Brown Universities. She works in the fields of gender and performance, children’s literature and primary education. Teaching and research interests include film and the expressive arts across a range of genres and languages. She was script consultant and the production coordinator for a film based on Tagore’s last and most philosophical novel, Char Adhyay, directed by Kumar Shahani in 1997. She has a corpus of translations from Bangla to English, including the Puffin Classic Making a Mango Whistle (2005) from Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay’s Aam Anthir Bhepu. Her publications include
Binodini Dasi’s ‘My Story and My Life as an Actress’ and Sur Pippa: Notes on Running Feet (co-authored). She currently teaches at the Department of English, University of Delhi.
Amy Fernandes is passionate about magazines. That and her predilection for multi-tasking has led her to bringing out several magazines, sometimes all at once. It’s also what led her to Literature Live! In the past she has conceptualized and been editor of magazines like Femina, the leading women’s magazine in India, Jade: an exclusive publication concentrating on the South of India, Time N’Style, India’s best known luxury magazine, and the weekly Kidzone among several others. Her many interests include travel, food and books. She has been a columnist at Bombay Times. She has taught journalism at St Andrews BMM programme and is currently handling the magazine module at St Paul’S Institution of Communication Education (SPICE). She is now Group Editor with DNA, Features, part of Zee Media Corporation Ltd, where she brings out the Sunday magazine called Just Before Monday, along with several special features for the publication.
Farzana Cooper is a freelance illustrator. Her works have appeared in many Lifestyle magazines and books including Femina, Maxim ,Verve, Vogue, IQ, Man’s World, Saturday Times, etc. She has illustrated books like Samar Halarnkar’s The Married Man’s Guide To Creative Cooking (And Other Dubious Adventures), Parsi Bol and currently illustrating Raju Morey’s Courting Trouble. Farzana has a degree in Fine Arts from Sir J J institute of Applied Arts. Her other interests are in current affairs and south Asian archaeology and history. She lives with her family in Mumbai.
Mukul Priyadarshini holds a Ph.D. in Linguistics from the University of Delhi. She has been professionally associated with government organisations such as NCERT (and contributed towards the National Curriculum Framework), NCTE, CBSE etc. and civil society organisations such as Eklavya, Ankur Society for Alternatives in Education, Digantar etc. Her research interests include the position of Languages in Education, the discursive nature of Hindi, and politics of languages in multilingual societies. She is passionate about the use and importance of children’s literature and has been involved in this sector as an editor, translator and educationist. She is also instrumental in introducing children’s literature to students of B.El.Ed. At Miranda House.
Shailaja Menon works as faculty in the area of Language and Literacy at the School of Education, Azim Premji University. She currently leads a longitudinal project, Literacy Research in Indian Languages (LiRIL), investigating the teaching and learning of early language and literacy in Maharashtra and Karnataka. She serves as a literacy consultant for Sri Ratan Tata Trust. She also anchors the bilingual children’s literature festival, KathaVana that is hosted annually by Azim Premji University. She has an abiding interest in imparting a love for language, literature and literacy to children, teachers and teacher educators. Prior to this she taught at Jones International University and University of Colorado in the United States. Shailaja has her doctorate degree in language, literacy and learning disabilities from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and degrees in human development and psychology from MSU, Baroda, and Delhi University, respectively.
Usha Mukunda has inspired generations of children to discover the joys of reading. An ardent advocate of open libraries, she is deeply interested in nurturing discerning readers and users of the library. She co-founded the Centre for Learning (Bangalore) in 1990 and set up an open library there. She has been working with several rural, government and community libraries across India. She writes regularly on books and libraries for various journals, and blogs at library.cfl.in. She participated in the NCERT exercise to select good books and other programmes to strengthen school librarians of the Southern Regions, resulting in two manuals and workshops for school librarians. She was a member of the special committee for libraries and knowledge networking under the aegis of the Karnataka Knowledge Commission. In 2009, she was awarded a Karnataka State award for her service to school libraries.