The shortlist for the third edition of the New India Foundation’s Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay NIF Book Prize was announced today. The award recognises excellence in non-fiction writings on modern/contemporary India published in the previous calendar year by writers from all nationalities. Established in 2018, the prize carries a cash award of INR 15 lacs and a citation. This year’s shortlist of six books covers a century of modern Indian history and encompasses several genres including biography, investigative reportage, environment histories, anthropology and history. The jury comprised political scientist Niraja Gopal Jayal (Chair), historians Ramachandra Guha, Srinath Raghavan and Nayanjot Lahiri, entrepreneur Nandan Nilekani; and Chairman, Teamlease Services, Manish Sabharwal.
The six books shortlisted for the Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay NIF Book Prize 2020 are:
•Mobilizing the Marginalized: Ethnic Parties without Ethnic Movements by Amit Ahuja (Oxford University Press)
•Midnight’s Machines: A Political History of Technology in India by Arun Mohan Sukumar (Penguin Random House)
•The Unquiet River: A Biography of the Brahmaputra by Arupjyoti Saikia (Oxford University Press)
•A Chequered Brilliance: The Many Lives of V.K. Krishna Menon by Jairam Ramesh (Penguin Random House)
•Bottle of Lies: Ranbaxy and the Dark Side of Indian Pharma by Katherine Eban (Juggernaut)
•Wild Himalaya: A Natural History of the Greatest Mountain Range on Earth by Stephen Alter (Aleph)
Previous winners of the award include Milan Vaishnav for When Crime Pays: Money and Muscle in Indian Politics (HarperCollins Publishers) in 2018; and Ornit Shani for How India Became Democratic (Penguin Random House) in 2019.
The final winner will be announced in early December 2020.