Author Madhuri Vijay was awarded this year’s JCB Prize for Literature for her debut book, titled The Far Field. The award ceremony took place at Jaipur’s Rambagh Palace. Acclaimed journalist Mark Tully presented the 2019 prize. In addition to Rs 25 lakh as the prize money, the author also received a sculpture by Delhi-based artist duo Thukral & Tagra, titled Mirror Melting.
Taking the reader through a complex personal story, The Far Field is set against the backdrop 1990’s Kashmir conflict.
Vijay through the recorded message thanked the jury for being chosen as the winner. She further expressed her gratitude towards her editors and publishers. She thanked them for having her back after a few publishers rejected her novel due to the current unrest in Jammu & Kashmir territory.
The book was selected by a panel of five judges chaired by filmmaker and environmentalist Pradip Krishen and authors Anjum Hasan, KR Meera, Parvati Sharma, including economist Arvind Subramanian.
According to a joint statement by the judges, “The Far Field is an impressively ambitious novel of stunning emotional and psychological acuity. This deeply introspective story, located in troubled Kashmir, is also a panoramic exploration of our ideas and assumptions about nationhood,” adding, “Rendered in visually evocative, lucid prose, and driven by a fragile but compelling narrator-protagonist, this tragic novel teems with unforgettable characters. We are proud to celebrate a luminous new talent in Indian literature.”