In its 16th edition, the prestigious Crossword Book Award in association with Shoppers Stop, Home Stop and Kotak Mahindra Bank witnessed a remarkable literary event, which saw a venerable celebration of Indian writing in English for books published in the year 2017 at the majestic Royal Opera House – Mumbai.
As India’s oldest and most respected literary award, the Crossword Book Award encompasses a total of 11 awards in categories such as fiction, non-fiction, children’s, translation in the jury as well as popular categories. Two additional categories – business & management and health & fitness are part of the popular awards alone.
The summit of the evening is the Lifetime Achievement Award, instituted in 2016, given to a literary stalwart.
Dr. Shashi Tharoor, Commonwealth Writers’ Prize winner and prolific author with a global fan following, was conferred the same, for his exemplary contribution to Indian writing in English.
For the first time in the history of Crossword Book Awards, a celebrity dialogue between Gaur Gopal Das and Soha Ali Khan was organized. Moderated by veteran business journalist Arijit Barman, the panel discussed the theme #ReadingIsGood.
Accepting the Lifetime Achievement Award, veteran author Shashi Tharoor said, “I started my literary journey with fiction, and then of course moved to non-fiction. Crossword Bookstores has always stood for the pleasure of reading which means a great deal to me. Reading is a pleasure that everyone in this audience has experienced. Books have an unparalleled ability to take you places. Sadly today, piracy has become a threat, much like the anecdote shared here today about Salman Rushdie, and how street sellers sent him greeting cards thanks to the money they earn out of his pirated books. Coming here today is not just about achievement, because I believe there is a lot more to be done.”
Presiding over the awards, Lord Desai said, “It is nice to be at the Crossword Book Awards today because I have spent most of my life either in bookstores or libraries. I have also acted in a bit role with Soha Ali Khan,” he said to thunderous applause.
Following were the awardees in each category
WINNERS: POPULAR AWARD
Group top management BS Nagesh, Chairman Shoppers Stop, Atur Talsania National Sales Head Saregama, Rajiv Suri, Vice-Chairperson Crossword Bookstores, Maulik Desai, Head, Crossword Bookstores gave away the popular awards. Social media phenomenon Mallika Dua and Shauna Chauhan, CEO ParleAgro also gave away key awards. RJ Hrishi K served as the emcee.
Thanking the audience, Maulik Desai, Head, Crossword Bookstores said,“India has the second largest English speaking population in the world, next only to the United States. The prose writing created by Indian writers, in English language, is proving to be a strong, significant global force. The Crossword Book Awards, since 1998, are a tribute to this organic, emergent force, and I am happy to see our tribe growing.”
Commenting on the evening, Vice Chairman – Crossword Bookstores, Rajiv Suri said, “For the past 26 years, Crossword Book Stores has been a focal point of cultural and social interaction between authors and ardent readers. The Crossword Book Awards was conceived 16 years ago with an aim to recognise our Indian authors who have immensely contributed to the country’s flourishing literary culture. The independent jury has worked incredibly hard to assemble this year’s list, which recognises exceptional literary talent and ranges from debut writers to established novelists. My colleagues and I would like to congratulate each of the shortlisted authors who have made it to this year’s esteemed award list.”
The presence of authors Sudha Murty, Manu S Pillai, Radhakrishnan Pillai, Ira Mukhoty, Gaur Gopal Das, Amish Tripathi, Ravi Subramanian, Vithal Nadkarni, Durjoy Datta, Anand Neelakantan, Sanjeev Kapoor, Rita Chowdhary, Benny Daniel, Perumal Murugan, Mickey Mehta, Zeba Kohli and actor Divya Dutta added gravitas to the evening.
ABOUT CROSSWORD BOOK AWARD
The Crossword Book Award, India’s first and most prestigious Book Award, recognises and rewards the best of Indian writing & Indian authors. Incepted in 1998, over the years, the awards have been equated to the Commonwealth Writer’s Prize, The Pulitzer and The Booker, and are a definitive, veritable platform for Indian Authors.
The very best of Indian writing in English has been honoured with the Crossword Book Award, including names such as Salman Rushdie, Vikram Seth, Amitav Ghosh, Neel Mukherjee and Kiran Desai are among past winners of the award; thereby raising the bar for its esteem and reverence.
In 2016, for the first time, Crossword Book Award introduced the Lifetime Achievement Award, which was conferred upon Ruskin Bond by the legend Gulzar.
In 2017, Mrs. Sudha Murty was conferred the Lifetime Achievement Award, and world’s leading cardiac surgeon Dr. Ramakanta Panda handed her the same.
The awardees, sometimes discovered by the Award itself, have invariably risen to stature in the world of literature; making the Crossword Book Award a definitive barometer for excellence in Indian writing in English.