The language for BLBA 2021 author category is Malayalam. And like all years, the illustrator category is open for all languages.

Award Criteria

  1. A body of original and significant work across a minimum of 7-10 years.
  2. Excellence developed through an eagerness to explore and experiment with ideas, genres and the possibilities of their craft.
  3. Stories/visual narratives that are culturally appropriate and avoid/challenge stereotypes.
  4. Demonstrate growth and willingness to break known barriers in what defines a children’s author/illustrator.
  5. Contribution to creating the next generation of readers, writers and illustrators.
  6. Original work means that the text/illustration was created by the nominated author/illustrator and no one else. It may include original re-telling of traditional literature, provided the words are the author’s own.
  7. The author/illustrator should be active and writing/illustrating, and his/her work being published and accessible to children.
  8. The body of work shall be intended for children of ages up to and including 18, and work for this entire age range will be considered.
  9. Text shall include all forms of writing — fiction, non-fiction, drama and poetry. Reprints, compilations and abridgements are not eligible.
  10. The Award is not given posthumously.


  1. How many authors and illustrators can we nominate?
    One person can nominate up to 3 authors and 3 illustrators. While nominating, please remember to click on the appropriate category of nomination i.e. author, illustrator.
  2. Why are author nominations only in one language?
    The author category of the award is language specific, and is based on an Indian language. Every year, an Indian language is selected, and an author with notable contribution in that language is awarded.
  3. What is the language of BLBA 2021?
  4. Is the illustrator category of the award also language specific?
    The illustrator category of the award is not language specific. You can nominate any illustrator whose works are published in India, for books of any Indian language, including English.
  5. Who can nominate?
    Anyone can nominate. Please remember to fill in your information. However, self-nomination is not accepted.
  6. How can I nominate?
    You can nominate in 2 ways – fill in the online form and submit directly. You can also download, fill and email the form to us at [email protected]
  7. If the form does not get accepted, what do I do?
    If the website is not accepting your form, it could be because you may have missed filling a mandatory field. Before you submit, check all fields have been duly filled. Sometimes, it may also be due to a weak internet connection.
    In case of any concern, please write to us at [email protected]
  8. When does nominations close?
    Last date for nominating is 13 th July, 2021.
  9. What is the judging process?
    Once nominations come in, a longlist of authors and illustrators are created from the nominations received. Thereafter, books of the longlisted authors and illustrators are procured and sent to both groups of juries. The jury shortlists authors and illustrators, based on which the winner is decided by them through a consensus.
  10. When are the winners announced?
    Winners will be announced in December, 2021.

ബി.ൽ.ബി.എ. 2021 നാമനിർദ്ദേശ മാനദണ്ഡങ്ങൾ

Jury for Author (Malayalam) Category



Greystroke has been a writer and an illustrator of children’s books and stories for over 25 years, and began his professional illustrator’s career as the cartoonist for the “Indian Review of Books”. Since then, his work has been published by leading publishers in India. His book “Wailers Three”, published by Pratham Books, is a CBSE (Central Board of Secondary Education) recommended reader for English for Kendriya Vidyalayas.

He runs a publishing house called 1InchMargin, and is the art director for Melting Pot, a content and design house behind the award-winning Mahindra newsletter, ‘Skyline’. He also was the art director for the children’s magazines Chatterbox, Quest, Junior Quest, Hoot and Toot, between 1999 and 2013, for which he has illustrated over 250 stories and written several. He is also a photographer and a filmmaker, and a founder-partner at Funky Rainbow, a leading independent retailer of Indian children’s books.


Dr. M. M. Basheer

Dr. M. M. Basheer was born on 18th September, 1940 in Kaniyapuram village of Thiruvananthapuram district in Kerala. He studied BA and MA under the University College, Thiruvananthapuram and then went on to the University of Kerala for his doctoral studies. While in college, he worked as reporter of an evening daily Karmabhoomi published in Trivandrum. He was the editor of several literary magazines as Grandhalokom, Malayalavimarsam, Sahityalokom, Samskarakeralam, Samakalasangeetham and Keralakavitha. After completing his formal education, he was posted as Lecturer in the Department of Malayalam, University of Calicut, where he retired from. Dr. M. M. Basheer has written over 50 books from 1967 to 2017 on Malayalam literature. He has been a recipient of Puthezhath Raman Menon Award 1989, C.J. Smaraka Dr. Abraham Vadakkel Award 1993, Abudhabi Sakthi Award 2016 and Kerala Sahitya Parishath Award 2017.


Paul Zacharia

Paul Zacharia writes in Malayalam under the pen-name ‘Zacharia’ and has published over 50 works of fiction and non-fiction including short stories, novellas, travelogues, film-scripts, collections of essays/columns for adults and two children’s books. His novel in English, ‘A Secret History of Compassion’ was published by Context in 2018. He has received literary awards that include the Kendra Sahitya Akademi and the Kerala Sahitya Akademi. In November, 2013 he was elected a Distinguished Fellow of the Kerala Sahitya Akademi. He lives in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, and is married to Lalitha. They have a daughter and a son.


Sherylene Rafeeque

Sherylene Rafeeque is a freelance writer/editor based in Kochi. She started her career as an assistant editor for Mango, a children’s imprint in English by DC Books. After a brief stint as a sub-editor with The New Indian Express, she returned to Mango and her first love – books. She was part of the editorial team for The English Express, a series of English textbooks for the lower and middle grades in India; and Classic Folktales from Around the World, a 12-volume special edition. She has retold four books for children. Sherylene has worked with an NGO to promote the use of ICT tools in educating differently abled children. She is also Consultant Editor for a public policy think-tank in Kochi. Now a mother of two girls, she strives to get the best of her work and family life.


Suneetha Balakrishnan

Suneetha Balakrishnan, a Creative Writing Trainer certified by the British Council, is a journalist, translator, editor, and writer; working in English and Malayalam, and across genres. She has two novellas, one poetry anthology, and five translations to her credit: including the Malayalam translation of Jhumpa Lahiri’s Interpreter of Maladies. She has written for The Guardian, The Hindu Literary Review, The Business Standard, The Caravan, The Mathrubhumi, and Indian Literature.

Suneetha won the 2010 Penguin-HT short fiction competition, the 2012 DWL Short Story Competition, is a Fellow of the Sangam House International Writer’s Residency 2009, a Featured Poet at the Prakriti Poetry Festival 2010, and a 2019 awardee of the Book Completion Fellowship at The Manipal Centre for Humanities. She is a committed bibliophage and lives in Thiruvananthapuram, her hometown.

Jury for Illustrator Category

Aashti Mudnani

Aashti Mudnani

Aashti Mudnani is a professional book hunter, illustration lover, listener of stories and chai drinker. She started Lightroom, a bookstore for children’s books in Bangalore in 2013 with the help of several people. She loves being outdoors, especially where there are more wild things than cityscapes. But for now, she lives in Bangalore with her two daughters, husband and their cat, Inji.

Proiti Roy

Proiti Roy

Proiti Roy is an illustrator and designer, who started her career in advertising. Soon after, she turned freelance and also started teaching children art and craft. During this period, apart from her advertising and corporate assignments, she began to focus on illustrating children’s books, which was something she wanted to do ever since she could remember. Now, living in Shantiniketan in West Bengal, she continues to illustrate as well as help and rescue street animals in distress.

Rani Dharker

Rani Dharker

Rani Dharker is an author and an artist. Her first novel ‘The Virgin Syndrome’ was ecstatically received and was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Prize. Rani has a PhD in English Literature and was a professor of English at M S University of Baroda, where she was the leading light in its Shakespeare Society, directing plays and acting. She loves dogs and other four-legged creatures (as well as the ones that fly).

Sunandini Banerjee

Sunandini Banerjee

Sunandini Banerjee is both Senior Editor and Senior Graphic Designer at Seagull Books, and designs all of Seagull’s book covers and catalogues. A digital-collage artist whose work has been exhibited in India and abroad, she is a translator as well as a member of the faculty at the Seagull School of Publishing.


Thejaswi Shivanand

Thejaswi is a teacher at Center for Learning, an alternative school near Bangalore. He is a part of running the school library and interacting with children from age six years to teenagers, over books, for the past ten years and also teaches science. He is a consultant for library programmes and a faculty at the Library Educators Course (English), run by Bookworm, Goa.

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